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Out! Out, Damned Boss!
by Jim M. Allen

It's quiz time, everybody! Take a look at the following question and choose what you think is the best answer:

Question: When I walk through the workplace, my employees...

• a. smile and say, "Hello!"
• b. smile and ask, "You new here? What department?"
• c. look away and start muttering.
• d. I can't remember the last time I saw my employees.

And the answer is.... A, of course.

Did you select something else? If so, let me provide you with my professional evaluation of the state of your employer-employee (or manager-employee) relationship: You've got a problem.

Luckily there's a simple solution to this problem: Hang up the phone and get out of the office!

If you're spending most of your time in the office dealing with "issues," then you're going to have issues to deal with for a long, long time. You can deal with most issues head-on by getting out of your office and down in the trenches with your workers. Take some time to earn your M.B.W.A. (Management By Walking Around) degree! Done frequently -- better yet, daily! -- you'll soon see positive benefits:

• Better rapport with your workers.
• Spotting potential problems earlier.
• Discover more (and more useful) solutions and improvements to your processes... directly from the people who are doing the work.
• More personal involvement in the training and development of your department.

Think you already spend enough time with your people? The best way to find out for sure is to ask them. Talk to them, see if they need something else from you in order to do their jobs better.

Think you spend too much time with the workers? Again, ask! Chances are very good that if you're not hearing complaints, it's not too much.

Think you just can't free that kind of time? You're wrong, you can. Maybe you can't see how right now, but it's possible. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

• Delegate some of the things you're trying to do to others.
• See if you can push back some deadlines.
• Evaluate your own priorities... Is finishing X really more important than talking with your employees?

Once you've started making the time, you'll find it easier and easier to put into your schedule.

So, what are you waiting for? Commit, right now, to spending less time in your office and more time with the people who work for you. Don't wait... Get up get out of that chair! Get out of that office! Get to work.

Jim Allen is a professional life coach, speaker, and writer. Get more great ideas in you email every week by subscribing to Jim's weekly newsletter, THE BIG IDEA, by sending a blank email to: (©2001 Jim Allen & ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)



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