That's what the new TLC show Now Who's Boss attempts to answer. I watched the show last weekend; ber amusing to watch the CEO of Loews Hotels try to clean rooms to the satisfaction of a room supervisor and deliver food and food service to the satisfaction of a room service supervisor. I strongly reccommend that you watch this show if you are in any sort of leadership or executive position. Consider how much it would cost you to take a couple of days to go out and work with some of your front line employees, to try and do their jobs (sure, it's going to cost you in travel expenses and in time).
Now consider how much it would cost you not to do this.
If you want to be able to lead, you have to be able to follow. A very small percentage of executives have the kind of real world, start at the bottom experience that allows their employees to know that their boss would never ask them to do something that boss would not do; if the executive/boss does have that kind of background, many times the employees are not aware of it. So the answer is to get out in the field and show your employees that you are willing to get your hands dirty and willing to (fail miserably at trying to) do their jobs. Tell your employees about your background. Even if you have multiple locations, the story of you taking the time to spend time on the front line will spread throughout the organization -- you should watch the reactions on this program. Also, don't discount the things that you might learn to improve the business; sometimes you are so far removed from the front line that you can't notice cost-savings or revenue producing activities.
This week's episode (which I missed on Wednesday) was about Club Med -- I plan to catch the re-run this weekend. Next week's episode is about Universal Orlando.
Check it out!