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Average reading time: two minutes.

Whilst it’s very formulaic and cleverly edited, I love watching Undercover Boss.

I recently watched an episode that featured Euro Foods and highlighted a very common leadership challenge.

That is assuming we understand the current challenges of a particular role or person, based upon the fact we did that job in the past. We may have done that role a few years ago, or we may have done it 15 years ago.

And regardless of the time frame, a lot is likely to have changed.

There could be a new customer, supplier, or client relationships.

There could be new systems, regulations, or laws.

And there’s probably more complexity.

This creates what can be a systemic, cultural failing within the most senior levels of an organisation. That being the inability to acknowledge the fact that things have changed for the people doing the jobs we once did ourselves.

The impact of this can be huge and wide ranging. We may miss opportunities for organisational growth or the early warnings that may avert a disaster. And in failing to acknowledge the fact things have changed, we’ll almost certainly be demotivating and disengaging those who work within our teams and organisations.

There is another challenge that sits alongside this one… which Undercover Boss also frequently highlights.

That is thinking we understand the issues at the lowest levels of the organisation, and that we – as the leader or the leadership team – have the solutions to fix them.

The truth of the matter is, the more senior we become, the harder it is to stay connected with what is happening on the frontline.

This could be because we are physically removed from it, we prioritise our time elsewhere or, because people don’t tell us what’s really going on.

The challenge, and the fix, for us as leaders therefore is three-fold:

1.To stop making assumptions based on what is likely to be outdated knowledge.
2.To find a way to stay connected to the frontline and make this one of our leadership priorities.
3.To stop dismissing a proposed solution as wrong, simply because it is different from how we would have done it in the past.

So, what about you and your leadership team?

Are you tuned into the current realities at every level of the organisation… or are you the outdated expert(s)?

Wishing you a productive week ahead,



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