informal conversations with employees
ONE: Thinking that they can’t get away from meetings for thirty to forty-five minutes, they continue to meet during lunch and have their meal brought into the conference room.
TWO: They walk to the cafeteria and get a to-go sack, bring it back to the conference room, and in this way only lose ten minutes of meeting time.
THREE: Managers show up at the cafeteria, but isolate themselves from everybody else at a table in the corner.
FOUR: Managers once in awhile sit with an employee, yet only because they have a business item to discuss with that subordinate.
What do these dining habits say about these managers? Inescapably, that they appear aloof, distant, and uninterested in building relationships outside the senior staff circle.
So when a corporation brings me in to assess the company’s communication climate, soon I will bring the discussion around to what the managers do during lunch hour. As you can guess by now, I recommend that they:
–Show up and circulate
–Sit with different people every day
–Avoid talking about business. Chat casually about community activities, sports, families, and other topics not related to work.
Managers who follow these recommendations will create an image of being approachable, personable, and no longer stuffy. Employees will stop referring to them as “The Suits.”
NOTE: Don’t worry, managers, about what you have lost by interrupting your meetings. You have gained much more by your interaction with those who want to know you personally as well as professionally.
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