When I received my first promotion in 1990, my fellow workers repeated the same phrase to me that we’d done with all the other ‘suits’: Don’t forget where you came from.
I found out that it’s virtually impossible to remember. Management has layers of responsibility and the need for a more ‘global’ perspective that by nature you forget where the day-to-day success of the business is predicated – on those very worker bees, of which you were one, once upon a time.
A really good way to re-connect with your employees is outlined here, in an article by Walker Lundy in the Charlotte Observer. Spend one day a month with the troops. The benefits are multitude:
You re-connect with the people who are most responsible for your success;
Your perspective changes when you work alongside the line;
Your employees get to know you as a colleague and not just a supervisor.
I would be very concerned about any manager working for me who did not want to do this. What are they afraid of? What weaknesses do they have that they’re reluctant to show their line employees?
I found that most employees are incredibly encouraging when the boss shows up to work with them. Employees want their boss to see their expertise, hear their concerns (and more importantly see the issues face on).
Spend a day with your employees. Re-connect, re-energize and remember where you came from.