If you follow the TV show, “Undercover Boss”, you are aware that the show investigates numerous businesses and turns up issues that surprised the “boss.” The story lines follow a pattern: Once these issues are reported to management, a high level executive is directed to come up with an alias and a disguise in order to get involved in different duties working next to employees. In most cases, the boss has no clue how to perform the tasks at hand. It’s very entertaining to watch how the boss reacts. After the experience, the boss sits down with his or her staff and recaps the results of the week spent “undercover.” Based on the boss’ discoveries, some of those hard working people are given rewards and/or future opportunities, and in some cases, those who exhibited an embarrassing for lack of performance are called out and re-educated.
I think there is no shame in a person in a leadership role going undercover to see what actually goes within his or her organization. It is good to know how hard people work, what daily struggles they encounterincluding the physical and environment conditions with which they must copeand how managers treat the people in their charge. However, the big question is, why would you have to go undercover to find out what is really going on within your organization?
My advice: If you want to be an effective manager, get out from behind the desk. Don’t spend all day sending emails. Get out of your chair and talk with the people in your charge. MBWAmanagement by wandering around. Take time to hover around the people who make you successful. Uncover yourself, become visible.