The popular TV series “Undercover Boss” has ignited conversation about the value of walking in our employees’ shoes – or perhaps they in ours.  It’s a rare company where you can accomplish this “undercover” and yet the opportunity is still there to learn from our employees who are on the line.

In family-owned businesses it is common for the children of the owner to do every job in the company before taking on a leadership role. Similarly, this happens naturally in entrepreneurial businesses because everyone has to be able to do every job in the early days.

Then companies grow, employees move from generalists to specialists, we hire leaders because of what they know and can add, the demands are high and we “don’t have time”  for anything more than what we do every day. And yet, Vistage members know the importance of taking a day away to work on their business by attending their Vistage meetings. What if we took this day away to another level?

As a leadership coach, I wonder about the following:

  • What inspiration and strategic insight every CEO and their leadership team might gain from a day, or more, away from the leadership job?
  • What if instead of your job, you did one of the customer facing or customer impact jobs in your company? What leadership lessons might you learn and what results might you achieve?
  • What would happen if you gave your employees a forum to be boss for a day and share what they would do if they were walking in your shoes?

Here is a WSJ article to get you started thinking about the potential results: How to Be a Better Boss? Spend Time on the Front Lines.

Elisa K. Spain

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