On a recent Saturday afternoon, I decided to go surfing. Channel surfing, that is, the kind you do on your couch with a remote control in-hand.
Nothing seemed to interest me, until I discovered a few reruns of Undercover Boss. I decided to check it out, as I have never viewed this program.
I found it interesting. Bosses of large corporations go undercover in disguise to work in their company stores and factories. Unknowingly, employees freely vent their frustrations and openly share ideas for improvement. Poignant stories of hardships endured and dreams unfulfilled tug at the hearts of these leaders. Examples of courage and sacrifice abound.
At the end of the show, the CEO’s reveal themselves, share their perspectives, and offer generous gifts to assist those in need and help others fulfill their dreams.
LEADERSHIP LESSONS OF THE UNDERCOVER BOSS
- LBWA. Lead By Walking Around. Walk around and chat with your people. Attentively listen to them. Praise them for good work. Coach them when wispy tendrils show up.
- Empathize. Recognize that at any time, one or more of your employees may be going through a “rough patch” in their life. “Rough patches” include illness of a loved one, caregiving to an elderly parent, financial misfortune, or a contentious divorce. Read and respond appropriately to those in need.
- Inspire. Most people want and appreciate your presence. It shows that you care and gives your people a sense of significance. As Mark King, CEO of TaylorMade, one of the featured CEOs stated, “Leaders need to make people feel loved, respected, and listened to.”
Check out a few episodes of Undercover Boss. For anyone who’s a leader, it’s quite informative and surprisingly inspirational.