Leadership Lessons from the Disney Institute
The Disney Institute. Located in Buena Vista, FL, it provides training and custom solutions for organizations looking to create long-term, sustainable, positive transformation. At the institute, they teach business professionals that a key component of effective leadership is not allowing themselves to become separated from what happens on the front line. Why? I say this every time I deliver my keynote speech: frontline employees know the processes and procedures, what’s working and what’s not, better than anyone. Therefore, leaders must seek out and listen to their feedback.
One Disney best practice that can help leaders stay actively involved is “leader walks” – opportunities for leaders to be immersed with their team on the frontline and to get to know their Cast Members (employees) on a more personal level.
Some leaders even work a front-line shift alongside their teams in full costume, which enables them to gain respect and empathy for what their employees do. According to the Institute, when “management by wandering around” becomes common practice in the work environment, leaders stay more engaged with the people they work with. In addition, it offers leaders the opportunity to listen to what their employees are saying, which increases employee engagement and potentially the customer experience.
As you know, I believe there are four key areas where managers need to focus in order to increase engagement, and one of them is to create a two-way communication culture. What the Disney Institute is teaching – not allowing managers to become separated from what happens on the front line – is a great solution to help create a two-way communication culture. Your people want to be spoken with – not to. They want to know they have a voice at work and that their voice is being heard. You – manager – have it in your grasp to do this.
WHAT CAN I DO? Implement management by walking around. Get out of your work space and interact, face-to-face, with your team members. Follow them, learn about them, and ask them what they think. When you do this, you will make a lasting impression on your people, and increase productivity and engagement. You will also learn what isn’t working and have the opportunity to fix it, further increasing customer satisfaction. You see, leadership isn’t so difficult after all.
Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a 2017 Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth. Jill can be reached at +1.303.999.9224 or email@example.com.