Don’t Get Too Attached to Your Chair – Why Leaders Should Engage With Those on The Other Side of the Desk

Everyone who runs a business says they want to get out from behind the desk. But how many of us actually do it? The answer is, we all should. Too many of us don’t. We say we can’t, but is the real reason we won’t?

My Operations Vice President and I made virtually identical social media posts the other day. He posted a picture of his closed office door, saying my door is always open – unless I’m out helping customers. That same day, I posted a picture of my empty desk chair with the caption don’t get too attached to your chair – and some other stuff, but you get the gist. It made me feel good that we were thinking the same thing. Not just because I want and encourage getting out the door and engaging with our customers, but because it means we’ve got a great team partnering with us – an empowered team that affords us the freedom to get out there.

Don’t get too attached to your chair. Seriously, don’t. When you become bound to your desk the erosion of your business begins quickly. It happens in two phases. Your team is on the other side of that desk. Getting up, walking around the desk and interrelating with your team fosters engagement. It’s a motivator. It helps keep you, as a leader, in touch with the pulse of the company. That pulse is important. When you lose touch with your team your culture begins to fall apart, and culture is what defines a company.

You’ve gotten to your team, now get to your customers. Your team is on the other side of your desk. Your customers are outside the door. Without your customers there would be no company. Find new ones. Engage the current ones. When you’re stuck behind the desk, you may think you’re involved but you’re not nearly involved enough. Eventually you’ll begin to feel detached, but by that point it’s probably too late.

Why do we stay glued to our chairs? We say we’re too busy. There’s too much work, piles of paper, reports and phone calls to return. If you’re truly that overwhelmed that you can’t get up, there could be a deeper systemic problem in your organization. Make fixing the problem a priority before it becomes bigger than the pile of paper on your desk.  

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