Are you, or the managers in your business, using the MBWA management style enough? Have you any idea what I mean? MBWA (Management By Wandering Around or, in some versions, Management By Walking About) is a management style that’s been around for decades
It was first developed as a way of encouraging managers to get out of their offices (do you remember when managers actually had their own office?) and ‘get alongside’ their staff.
So what’s its relevance today when most managers don’t have the ‘closed door / fortress’ type of office (and, hopefully, attitudes) of yesteryear?
Well many of the principles and benefits are still the same. Here are three of them, with some questions you might find useful for yourself or for the managers you support:
MBWA Management Style Principle #1. Listening to what your employees are saying
Are you spending enough time with your staff? Are there enough opportunities for impromptu, informal discussions? It’s these type of ‘just passing by’ conversations that often uncover issues that need resolving or, at least, give you a feel for how things are going in your team. It’s all about you being available and part of – at least some of the time –the day to day life of your team
MBWA Management Style Principle #2. Seeing the challenges your employees are facing
Are you observing your staff enough? Can you see (and see quickly) if they are facing challenges they need your help with? When you wander around with your eyes wide open you can identify issues that your staff may not want to bother you with. This might be anything from a cramped work station to an irritation with a work system to a relationship problem with another team member. If you see it, you can offer to help your employee to deal with it – often before it becomes a major issue
MBWA Management Style Principle #3. Seeing what your employees are doing
Are you seeing enough of what your employees are actually doing? When you observe your employees you also gather the type of ‘evidence’ (examples and samples of work, behaviours etc) that are so valuable for giving performance feedback. You may already be using (I hope!) a planned approach to monitoring your employees performance (read more HERE). Even so, MBWA is a particularly effective way of gathering the information you need to give praise simply because the more time you spend wandering, the more likely you are to catch your employees doing great work
MBWA Management Style Summary
MBWA is what Tom Peters called the ‘technology of the obvious’. He also, in his book written with Nancy Austin, ‘A Passion for Excellence’ said that he saw MBWA as ‘the basis of leadership and excellence’
So, are you wandering around enough?
Want to know more?
If you would like some more ideas on how to manage your staff effectively, take a look at my FREE videos on Motivating Your Staff to High Performance. Get the details and INSTANT access HERE and learn how to improve your ‘motivational’ management style!