Leadership by Serving Around
Tom Peters has always been an advocate of MBWA as a tool for managers to promote Excellence in their organization.
I'm a fan of MBWA but I think the idea needs to be refreshed and more directly connected to the principle of Serving and Servant Leadership, hence my term Leadership by Serving Around (LBSA).
MBWA needs a purpose for it to be strategically effective. Its not about aimlessly wandering around chatting people up and listening to their issues. Rather its about exploring the nooks and cranny's of the organization looking for an opportunity to SERVE people in ways that will enable the organization's Strategic Game Plan to be executed. Furthermore I think we need to question whether the "Management" word should be retained given its connotations that fly in the face of the behaviors required in a SERVING leadership culture: control, momentum-based thinking, top-down and directive.
So what does LBSA look like?
> leaders wander with the objective of spotting a Serving Moment. An opportunity to SERVE someone. To help them in some way that will allow them to get on with their job more easily. Removing roadblocks. Bashing barriers. Destroying Dumb Rules. Enabling people to do what they know is required to do a good job.
> leaders allocate significant calendar time to this ritual. You can't spot a Serving Moment if you are in your office. Get the hell out of it and do something strategic!
> Leaders serve well by receiving information, processing it and then acting on it. The process begins with REALLY LISTENING.
> INTERRUPTING is verboten. Give people time to tell their story. Allow them freedom to express their issues on their terms.
> ASKING QUESTIONS is the tool the leader uses to understand, to engage and to connect with the individual in the discussion. Questions "Rain Down" until the leader is satisfied they clearly understand the matter being raised by the employee.
> the specific question "How can I help?" is the theme of the conversation.
I want you to move beyond MBWA to Leadership by Serving Around. LBSA is a critical strategic act that leaders must perform. Strategy execution depends on it. Frontline success depends on it.
What else is more important?