Catch them doing something right

Photo by Fishking_1

I have written a number of times about the concept of MBWA – management by walking around (see here, here and here). Somehow, in the last few months it hasn’t come up. I was so happy to encounter it again, this time from a different perspective. I am currently listening to the audiobook of Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People by Edward M. Hallowell. In the book, Hallowell shares a quote by Brigadier General Thomas V. Draude, USMC (Ret):

My employees responded well to the example of me showing up when they didn’t expect me to. Not that I was sneaking up on them. They used to say it was an opportunity for me to catch them doing something right. And also to be there after hours and on Saturdays. When I first began to do it the employees would say: “Why are you here?” And I would say: “Because you are here. If you are here doing the things that are necessary, the least that I can do is to dignify your efforts with my presence.

What a wonderful idea: “opportunity to catch them doing something right”. If you are not out there, walking around the people, talking to them, watching their experience, you can’t really understand them and the challenges they are facing fully. And maybe more importantly, if you aren’t there to see it, it will be a lot tougher to recognize them for doing the things right.  To find out what works. To focus some of our attention to those who show up every day and maintain the standard.

When is the last time you actively caught you team members or employees doing something right? Isn’t it time to go and take a look?


One Response to “Catch them doing something right”

  1. Tox Says:

    I hate this approach to management. It feels like the bosses are trying to catch you out and are constantly looking over your shoulder. I have to say, when our senior management team started doing this I took the entry of one of them into the office as my cue to visit the toilet.

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