A fly on the wall

Tandiro has a thriving business with healthy employee morale. If you ask the staff why they enjoy working at the company, they answer, “Tandiro understands us, he listens to us”. Tandiro enjoys walking around in the office. It’s a weekly habit he acquired over the last few years. If you would ask him why he does this, his answer is “I need to keep my ear on the ground”.

The series Undercover Boss is an example of what happens when leaders take time to actively observe and listen. Listening to the staff as well as the customers. In today’s ever changing business environment, we can be caught up in our own little world. This can result in being perceived as not caring about staff or customers. We can feel irritated because we just want the job to be done. Leaders can often take a breather to just observe and listen.

This time of listening can give you insights into your company that few books can teach you. In the book Design a Better Business, the authors, Patrick van der Pijl, Justin Lokitz and Lisa Kay Solomon says, “A good way to think about observation is to act like a fly on the wall. When you start exploring and observing, leave your point of view and assumptions at the door. Don’t judge, just soak it in”. Soaking in the perspectives of others is key to finding nuggets of wisdom.

Here are 2 tips to become a fly on the wall:

  1. Design a habit of observation for yourself as a leader. This can be spending time in the cafeteria. Walking around the departments once a week.
  2. Ask questions and listen to what is said and not said. Be intentional to ask questions to your customers and team. Listen to the frustrations and irritations of people.

Being a fly on the wall can be an exhilarating and informative habit.

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