In another article, I discussed A.B.E. – Awareness Brings Effectiveness. This is even more critical for team leaders. As a leader, you need to pay attention to what is going on with your employees. There is a term you may have heard of that has a couple different interpretations – MBWA. This leadership style is commonly referred to as Management By Walking Around. In some instances, it is sarcastically referred to as Management By Wandering Aimlessly.
MBWA is not meant to be a time to micromanage. This is a time for the leader to observe the team in an unstructured manner, check in with employees, and observe progress on active projects. It can even be a time to learn more about an employee on a personal basis or how you might be able to help them grow and develop.
As a leader, you need to be aware of what’s going on around you, what the team is doing and what individual team members are doing. It is important to continually learn different things about the people on your team. When your leadership style allows you to open up, let members and colleagues know more about you, allow yourself to be vulnerable, and take time to get to know them and, you increase the level of trust with everyone. Some of the items you can get to know about your team include their spouse’s name, their dog’s name, the names of their children, where they like to go on vacation, etc. In short, the more you know about them and they know about you, the more their level of trust increases. There is a balance here; you should not make your team members feel like Big Brother is watching them. They should feel like, and you should, authentically care about them and their lives. If you are faking it, they will know and trust will be undermined and, possibly, destroyed.
MBWA means maintaining awareness of what people are doing – who is pulling their load and who isn’t. Don’t wander aimlessly, be sure to move around and interact with purpose. Let your team know you are there for whatever they may need. Be sure to be available to help your team when they need help.
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