It’s easy to decide to start a business, but growing a business and staying in business over time requires considerable effort. An organization needs more than fresh ideas, financial backers and a new web site to make space for themselves in the marketplace. Yes, an organization also needs an inviting work environment where talented people can bring ideas to life as they work together to become known for delivering quality brands and solutions. Organizations need visionary leaders – good stewards who stay in touch with and listen to the talented workers throughout their organization. Organizations need leaders who inspire everyone they come in contact with to deliver their absolute best.
Running an organization requires leaders to be attentive, adaptive and resilient. Keen insight and good judgment alone won’t help an organization thrive or move forward. If poor communication or care exists between the executive management (boss) and customer service professional (staff), the organization will eventually unravel, like yarn from a spool.
The boss who wants to run an efficient organization understands it’s important to exercise authority with care. This boss also knows that a leader who ignores and berates staff, is the leader who dooms the organization’s reputation as well as their own reputation.
Every boss or aspiring boss can benefit from watching Undercover Boss, a show that removes CEOs from the comfort of the executive office and places them undercover in their company as a trainee to experience firsthand what it takes to run the day to day operations of their organization. In every episode of Undercover Boss, the boss encounters workers who either embody or embrace the vision of their organization or the boss learns about unaddressed issues that threaten the integrity, market share and the reputation they work so hard to preserve.
During the episode, the boss also has a chance to acknowledge and praise the workers they met while undercover who represent the character and future of their organization. Throughout each episode, viewers get the chance to see what happens when clear communication and teamwork are not a priority or what happens when clear communication and teamwork is the heartbeat of an organization. Viewers also see what happens when an organization works together and see what happens when an organization stumbles into dysfunction.
Teamwork and communication matters. How a boss works with managers, how those managers work with employees, and how those employees care for customers, all create perceptions about your organization. Employees are the first point of contact with your customer. How they connect with customers and the public leaves either a positive or negative impression which alters how your organization is perceived.
Lessons from an Undercover Boss
As the “boss” or key leader, your insight will guide and direct the way your organization moves in, out and around the industries you operate in. Here are some takeaways from Undercover Boss that every boss can use to continue growing:
- Be approachable, be visible and be more than the signature of a CEO on paper!
- Keep communications clear and be open to receive feedback.
- Step away from executive duties regularly to be present and get in touch with employees and managers.
- Remember customers interact with your employees daily. Inform and equip workers with the tools and information they need to get the job done efficiently.
- Spend time listening to the needs, frustrations and concerns of workers and managers.
- You are your organizations coach. Step back, observe and create a strategy. Then dismantle your approach and strategy as innovation changes or the need arises.
- Be unafraid to get a real close look at the raw day to day operations of your organization.
- Be the (first) one to identify issues, own them and take corrective steps to maintain your presence.
- Instill your organizations values in every aspect of your organization.
- Always look for ways to make your brand and your key professionals worth remembering.
Bosses who lead well know how they respond to what’s happening around them is more important than what is actually happening.
Step into leadership knowing that a patient, calm, strategic leader is capable of handling every situation that arises. No matter how the public perceives you, who builds you up or tears you down publicly, how you lead through the best and worst of times is what matters. Value, listen to and appreciate everyone involved in your organization and look for opportunities to allow your character to speak for you.
What else can bosses do to lead well?