Q: In a class we talked about an executive from Vodafone who discarded his executive suite and now works everyday with the other employees. My question is this, is it really such a wise move for him to be with his staff everyday? Wouldn’t the lines start being blurred between him being a boss and just another worker? I understand he wants to keep a good perception of his work environment but I think it could be just as effective if maybe once a week or once a month spend a day with his staff. Not to mention, can you really get as much work done as an executive without your own space?
A: While certainly keeping yourself in the middle of an operation can keep you on the pulse of what is going on, you don’t want to get yourself into borderline micromanagement. The example you mention regarding Vodafone certainly is one where it appears to be a best practice for this operation.
I’d personally rather see someone spend more time with their staff but maintain a separate office. However, if being more accessible is important, perhaps this strategy of symbolic presence will demonstrate enough to encourage people that you really are an approachable leader.
Effective leaders know how to leave the details to the people through proper delegation, while still maintaining a pulse on the future of the business through reflection and escaping the day-to-day business from time to time.