As managers reach the most senior positions they tend to lose sight of the immeasurable value of being in contact with employees at all levels of the organisation. It is this contact that helps them to understand and influence the corporate culture as well as make better strategic decisions.

Occasional job shadowing is a powerful way to gain insight into the added value you could be offering your clients and where processes start to hinder progress. Spending a few hours learning more about your employees’ jobs and their (in)direct contact with customers will help you to discover new opportunities to facilitate progress.  Your reputation as an executive and organisation is only as good as the level of your customer service. Therefore, why ignore the opportunity of seeing and experiencing for yourself where the pressure points are and addressing these? This does not mean that you become a micro manager. Delegated authority should stay where it belongs; i.e. with the person to whom you delegated. You are there to observe and gain knowledge where it matters most: in closer proximity to your customers. Removing obstacles cannot happen before you have spotted and preferably experienced them. I am very much in favour of senior executives and middle managers having job-shadowing days from time to time. Become more visible, genuinely interested and responsive and this will:

  • build workplace agility and vibrancy
  • lead to better ideas and innovative improvements
  • strengthen customer loyalty
  • give a positive boost to your and your company’s reputation

Janet Poot
International Business Consultant