5 Reasons People Wish Lousy Leaders Would Stay Away

I’m a huge fan of leadership walk-abouts. But if you’re a lousy leader, just stay in your office and keep doing the “important” work you think you’re doing.

Elderly lady looking out a window.

If you want people to be glad to see you, be glad to see them.

5 reasons people wish lousy leaders would stay away:

  1. They have a ton of work to do and they don’t have time to kiss your butt.
  2. They don’t want a new assignment. Typically, you want something when you show up.
  3. All you ever talk about are problems.
  4. You bring up problems you want them to solve.
  5. They’re tired of making you look good and getting nothing for it.

5 things people think when lousy leaders show up:

  1. Well, that’s the end of a good day!
  2. I wonder what she wants.
  3. Au-oh, what happened?
  4. What have I done wrong?
  5. How can I get away from him?

10 commandments for leadership walk-abouts:

  1. Show up often enough that people aren’t shocked to see you.
  2. Show up to connect with people.
  3. Show up to support more than challenge.
  4. Show up for short visits. Several short visits are better than one long visit.
  5. Show up to give more than take.
  6. Show up to listen more than talk.
  7. Show up with a smile. You might not feel intimidating, but you probably are.
  8. Show up with humble respect. You’re nothing, from a leadership perspective, without the people you lead.
  9. Show up asking, “What’s working?” A lousy leader’s negative focus is exhausting.
  10. Show up asking, “What do you think?” People bring up concerns and issues. Don’t offer quick solutions.

If you want people to be glad to see you, be glad to see them.

Why don’t people wish leaders would stay away?

What commandments are most important for successful leadership walk-abouts? What commandments might you add?

Afterword: The idea of Management by Wandering Around (MBWA) originated with Hewlett-Packard decades ago. Thanks, Tom Peters and Robert Waterman Jr.