Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Visible Leadership


I eye the clock in my office and force myself to stop for lunch. The temptation is alwaybut as the ever present busy hum of the laptop is silenced, peace settles.

I reach for a book from the bookshelf; any book will do to occupy half an hour productively. Why does even a break need to be "productive?" I am a hopeless cause, I think.

I choose a book that seems to have short chapters and large print: The Key to Great Leadership; Rediscovering the Principles of Outstanding Service Perfect. I start reading with curiosity. The author is Peter Burwash, not someone I am familiar with, and the book was published in 1995--not exactly current, but as I read on my interest is piqued.

Part 1 is headed: The 12 Universal Principles of Great Service Companies; and what I read resonates. When I get to the third principle, which is "Visible Leaders," I realize that Peter Burwash is writing about the importance of one of the principles I have been learning to incorporate into my own leadership over the past few months. In fact it was a whole  movement a few years ago; called MBWA (Management by Walking Around.) Sometimes we need a reminder of lessons learned by great leaders.

My lunchtime reading of that day affirmed the rightness of my direction and strengthened my resolve to win the battle of people over paper. Our work, which is in a people oriented field, has become laden with layers of work that takes us away from people contact. We all deal with it in our own way. Some are naturally skilled and efficient at processing paper. Others learn to delegate well, but that has its own issues. Some resign themselves to a doing different kind of job than we used to and that we really have a passion for because it is what we are expected to do.

I think we have to start a counter revolution back to people and I somehow think that the results will do more than all the checklists and reports.

I am trying to pick up the phone more often; listen more; hang out; sit with; be there, more.

It isn't easy to go against the tidal wave bearing down upon us. I hardly know how to do it but I'm trying and I know it's a battle worth winning.

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