Back to business

As the strategic directors of an organisation, business leaders do not often have many opportunities to return to the ‘shop floor’. Good leaders trust their people to execute day-to-day tasks efficiently and give room for them to grow and adapt their skillset.

That said, there are several crucial benefits that can arise from leaders taking to the front line. Going back to the ground can:

  • Encourage greater rapport between senior figures and workers
  • Strengthen stakeholder relationships
  • Provide leaders with better operational insight for improved decision-making

With no set journey to creating positive business change, leaders who work more directly with their employees now and then could foster lasting improvements for the organisation.

1. Connecting with culture

The relationship between leaders and workers is imperative to the long-term success of a business. Despite this, research conducted by employee experience platform, LumApps, showed that just one quarter of UK workers have full trust in their leadership.

Common reasons for distrust and disconnect between leaders and workers can often be traced back to the latter feeling their voice is not heard and a lack of consistent interaction.

As such, the incremental involvement of leaders on the shop floor offers an opportunity for bonds to be established. It also allows for leaders to reconnect with the company culture. Leaders can communicate directly with individuals about their strengths and limitations and experience their day-to-day challenges first-hand.

In tandem with collaborative working, honest interactions naturally help to build trust between two parties. This ensures that leaders have clearer oversight of how they can develop solutions to better support workers.

2. Business change benefits from informed decisions

Informed decision-making fuels positive business change. Leaders who have granular insight into the business’ operations will be in a stronger position to implement an effective change journey, such as recruiting to fill specialist roles.

Working on the front line is an efficient, reliable means of gleaning this information. Leaders can comprehend customer behaviour and the effectiveness of internal processes more closely. They can then use this data to optimise the business strategy. Collaborating with employees directly equally gives leaders the chance to listen to new ideas and knowledge of the customer. This intelligence could be used to give the company a competitive edge.

3. Satisfied stakeholders make a stronger business strategy

Another benefit of leaders getting stuck in on the ground is the opportunity to develop their relationships with stakeholders. As strategic directors of the business, leaders often have less interaction with stakeholders than the rest of the workforce.

Participating in day-to-day operations, such as joining meetings held with stakeholders, not only aids rapport but allows leaders to observe and listen to stakeholder needs. This enables leaders to understand their perspective of the services or products provided by the business.

Such insight is invaluable to a business’ change journey. It enables leaders to tailor the business strategy around stakeholders and boost their engagement or investment in an organisation that satisfies their interests. It follows that leaders who have a physical presence among stakeholders are more likely to earn their respect and loyalty. Interaction such as this demonstrates a degree of care that stakeholders may not receive elsewhere.

As competition for top talent and customers amplifies, leaders will need to stay in tune with their business to remain on top of fluctuations in industry trends and the needs of employees and stakeholders.

Returning to the heart of the business every now and then might just be a means of achieving this in the long run.