Becoming a transformational leader can seem intimidating. It can seem like something you are either born to be or not. In reality it all starts with getting your daily steps in. Sometimes called “management by walking around” as described in the Tom Peters and Bob Waterman 1982 bestseller In Search of Excellence.
An article in one of my favorite resources for leaders, the website MindTools: Essential skills for an excellent career, highlights how to connect with your people and build the relationships that lead to transformational work by getting your steps in!
“Management by wandering around” does require more than just aimless chatting or random office visits. MindTools encourages leaders to:
- Relax – take a deep breath, calm your mind and make it easy for people to be open with you.
- Listen and Observe – take the time to understand your people and demonstrate genuine interest in their perspective.
- Be Inclusive – wander everywhere, strategically plan to connect with your whole team.
- Recognize Good Work – encourage people to share what they are proud of and give specific compliments.
- Spread the Word – share what you hear with others and share what you know about the work being done.
- Embrace Chat – learn more about people’s non-work interests and lives. Demonstrate that you are aware they are more than just what they do at work.
- Don’t Overdo It – don’t hover over people or become a distraction.
- Review Your Conversations – assess what you have learned, take action and solve problems.
Transformational leaders know their people and know their work.