When leaders “roll up their sleeves,” it can mean one of several things. Often, it is viewed as a willingness to do work that might be perceived as “beneath” them. However, one of the most important reasons for leaders to roll up their sleeves often goes overlooked – to develop and implement a business strategy.
Here are some specific reasons why business leaders need to roll up their sleeves to develop and implement truly successful business strategies.
Staying close to your strategy
Business strategy affects everyone in a business. Yet, it is often developed at the highest levels of a business. In other words, the success of a given strategic element is extremely difficult to gauge based solely on data. To understand how it is being internalised and implemented across levels and departments, leaders instead must get “down in the trenches” and see it for themselves.
By working alongside team members, leaders have an opportunity to understand their struggles, perspectives and expectations in a greater context. It also opens a direct window into the ways they learn, communicate and execute, as well as their relationships with colleagues and others throughout the business.
While most leaders are well aware of the value that this insight holds, what they may not realise is that it’s impossible to gain the insight from across the table — whether that’s in a one-on-one meeting or a daily huddle. Instead, it’s necessary to break down the hierarchical barriers and see the circumstances from the employee’s viewpoint.
Counting the Benefits
In short, there isn’t just one advantage to rolling up your sleeves. In addition to being a barometer for how strategy is affecting a employees, it works as a foundation for building relationships and empowering your team. It also gives you the ability to identify talent from within and to challenge individuals and teams while offering an opportunity to demonstrate to employees the ways in which their roles facilitate the larger strategy — helping them see the true value of their work.
You don’t need a disguise to make rolling up your sleeves worthwhile. However, you do need to make sure that your actions aren’t viewed as micromanaging. In most cases, that would lead to the direct opposite of the benefits listed above. To avoid this potential misperception, approach the exercise with a mindset of: What can you learn from your employees, and how can you help them t perform at their best? If answering these questions is your intention, the rest will take care of itself.
"By working alongside team members, leaders have an opportunity to understand their struggles, perspectives and expectations in a greater context."