Manage by Walking Around


Closer to the end of the industrial age the term “Manage by Walking Around” became very popular. The purpose of this phrase was meant to encourage shift leaders to get out of their office and onto the manufacturing floor where their people were, so they would have first-hand knowledge of what exactly was going on. Being out on the manufacturing floor allowed the manager to objectively observe what was happening without being influenced by preconceived notions. Personal opinions can sometimes cloud your judgment and create a false reality in your workplace.

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6 thoughts on “Manage by Walking Around

  1. Excellent post! I was trying to think how I could apply this to me, because every single one the employees works out of their house. How do I check in on them? How am I sure that what they are telling me is what is happening?
    Then it hit me, I walk around every single day because I get copies of all of their emails. I am able to take what they are telling me and compare it to the emails I am seeing come in. I can more effectively communicate with them since I have a better understanding – and I can defuse a situation by stating “that’s not how I read the email”.
    Now, I do NOT recommend this method, at all, as it won’t work for a larger company – but for us, it works. And I get to walk the floor every day (Or every other day when I’m really busy!)

  2. John Smith says:

    Reblogged this on THE STRATEGIC LEARNER and commented:
    MBWO was one of the first management terms I learned and I employed it on several college campuses. You know, you learn a lot by just walking around and looking, by asking questions and listening to the responses, and just being visible.

  3. I agree! How else can loyalty in service and perseverance be recognized in today’s economy? This is a reflection of ‘Company Pride’! Great words to “walk” by, Cranston. Bless you~Zoey

  4. Rajiv says:

    Always a tricky one.. If people believe that you are there to ‘spy’ control, they tense up. However, a smile and an open mind go a long way to allowing people to open up. And, they do

  5. Vikki Brown says:

    Reblogged this on V.A. Brown Consulting and commented:
    Great post. This is one of the first things I teach people. MBWA not only shows that you have a pulse on what’s happening, but it’s a great way to get to know your staff as people first. Notice what’s on their space, family pictures, sports teams, whatever. Even though you’re checking performance & productivity you can start to build relationships that lead to trust.

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