While working at Product for Hanesbrands Inc. I remember a talk that we had with the regional manager. She said to us: “we need more managers walking among the production lines and less focused on their emails”. I have applied this wisdom to my life as a leader of any team ever since.
Time and time again, we get overwhelmed with a lot of emails, urgent and important (Call it: Crisis). And we can forget one important matter: Improvement opportunities, aka Hidden Gems.
Leadership at the front lines (whether is production or customer service) can help you in many ways.
Leadership building with involvement
Leadership is not being behind the line of battle. At the entire contrary, is actually being the first person in the line of battle!. Leadership commitment and perception can grow within your team. Not counting empathy, compassion and other emotions that are not usually met in an email.
Get up from your chair and go work among your team.
Finding those Hidden Gems
It's amazing how much opportunities I find every time I get out of the inbox and get my hands dirty with code or design. And I am not talking about obvious problems, everyone can pinpoint problems. I am talking about real Improvements! the type of -“Hey man I wonder if we do this, we can make this process quicker and fewer customers will be in queue”. Improvements that you didn´t know it was there in the first place.
Solving problems right at the starting point
There always will be problems to solve, but what if you could prevent a bigger problem to happen? It would be almost like you could predict the future and act on it, your team can help you with that. A close-to-the-action leader gets insights of her team immediately. Whenever they have an issue they could tell you how they would try to solve it. You can coach them if you see a better opportunity to tackle it or learn from what they are doing.
Fresh eyes for hot topics
Ever had that need to get up from your seat? Especially when you are having an email with a hot topic that needs an accurate response? Well, you are not alone, in fact, we all experienced it at some point. A healthy way to do it is to get up and go help our team pick up calls. You will get both a personal satisfaction and also will help you fight that burn out.
We talked a little bit in the first point, but more than that, to be in with your team can help the entire team to bond. Remember that you are part of a team. One that needs you. And spending more time with them improves communication and this is always important.
I encourage you to stand up from your desk today, roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty at line work. You will start seeing results from the get go and your team will thank you for being there for them!
About the author
Luis is a Product Manager / Designer & Brand Developer with a keen eye for what the customer needs. His favourite subjects to write on are: Design, Leadership, User Experience and Lessons Learned.
He has founded two businesses Typow Media and Vende tu Vestido and sold this same company with a successful exit. He also donates his time to tech learning thru the SurreyCodes Foundation, non-profit he founded.
You can see some of his work at his portfolio.