A leader needs to keep in touch with customers because a business’ real value is realized on the outside.
But it’s just as important to keep in touch with employees. Get out of your office, talk to people individually and in groups, find out what’s working, what’s not working, what’s getting in their way of being as effective and productive as they’d like to be.
Only by doing this will you hear things that otherwise would not make it to your office. You’ll hear good ideas and key trends to give you a better understanding than relying solely on internal reporting. Quality issues and improvement ideas, workplace problems and suggestions, and even hints of harassment can be surfaced this way. Consider your employee contact as part of an early warning system.
It’s also an opportunity for you to reinforce your leadership messaging. You can answer questions, provide background for decisions, and ask people what they are doing that day to act on key priorities.
Build employee contact into your weekly schedule.