In or Out of the Swimming Pool

Posted: 31st May, 2013

We have been trying the find the right swimming class for our young boys  - a class where they will obviously learn, have fun and of course be safe.

And after trying out a number of options and talking to other parents, a key differentiator has emerged and it is this - does the instructor get into the pool or not.

I have been amazed at the number of classes where the teacher stays at the edge of the pool and tells the kids in the water what to do. In or Out? - it seems a no brainer which would be most effective and that is what we have found in terms of which classes helped the boys learn and have fun.

So it got me thinking about whether we in our roles as leaders and managers perform our roles in or out of the pool.

Do you stay out of the pool?- spend a lot of time in your office, lot of time in meetings that are not at the coal face, find yourself giving lots direction and instructions through email? All important and justifiable (but then I am sure the swimming instructors have their good reasons for not getting into the pool too).

What would being in the pool more look like for you?

  • Attending customer meetings with your team?
  • Attending meetings with the customers of your internal customers?
  • Shadowing a key stakeholder for a morning?
  • Walking around the factory or office floor and making time to talk to the team?
  • Committing to and doing 1 to 1's?
  • Having skip level meetings with the folks a few levels below you?
  • Have lunch with your people as opposed to at your desk?

Does this make a difference?  It sure did for my kids and their swimming (they have made leaps and bounds since moving to a class with the teacher in the water with them). But in business?

The Sales Executive Council published research that a sales team performance went up 17% just from 2 hours a month of coaching from their manager.

So Summer is here (kind of) - why not pull on your leadership speedos (no one will see them I promise) and get into the water with your people.

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