CEOs are the lynchpin of any business. Not only are they a driving force behind shrewd business growth, but they are also of fundamental importance to internal strategy. They steer the ship and maintain its value with each and every move. But being a CEO can be an isolating affair – especially when every decision is a big-picture one.
It can be all-too-easy to lose sight of the engine that keeps the ship moving: the staff. Incorporating regular visits to, and working alongside staff into your timetable can be an incredibly helpful move – but why, exactly?
As a CEO, you will have your finger on the pulse of your business – receiving important information about the state of the market or industry and making significant business decisions based on performance metrics and other data. However, like a pulse, being CEO can only tell you so much about the ‘health’ of your business. In administrating the bigger picture, you lose sight of the ‘small stuff’ – the minutiae that could have an overwhelming impact on your business overall.
By donning your staff’s workwear and getting stuck in on the shop floor, factory floor, warehouse, workshop or office for a day or two, you can gain valuable experience from the other side of your business, looking upward as opposed to looking down. Here you can understand your employees’ needs a little more and get to grips with essential low-level processes which could well be streamlined for better overall operation.
Just as being a CEO can be an isolating affair, so too can working as part of a larger team within a department – especially if the stratification between lower-level employees and executive staff is particularly visible. For larger companies, employees’ individual contributions can often feel insubstantial, or even insignificant.
With this in mind, showing face as a CEO ‘in the trenches’ can work to dispel that idea, and improve morale amongst staff – in two crucial ways. Firstly, employees can put a face to the name, and understand exactly who they are working for. Secondly, employees will in turn feel seen by you – inspiring them into a more spirited engagement with their work.
Working as a CEO means concerning yourself with big-picture decisions and development tasks, giving you little-to-no exposure to the clients and customers that represent a wedge of your trade – especially in the case of retail storefronts and e-commerce businesses. Putting in an appearance with your lower-level and logistical staff, whether in your sales department or a physical retail location, will put you in closer proximity to your bread-and-butter customers, giving you vital insights into your key demographics.
All of the above can have a remarkable effect on your success as a leader. By gaining a multitude of perspectives from outside of your office, and by interacting directly with the employees that make your business’ success possible, you can become a much more well-rounded CEO – improving value to stakeholders and improving quality-of-life for your staff in the same breath.