Here’s Why Leaders Need to Visit the Front Line

Getting out of the office and into the store allows for valuable insights, feedback and workforce motivation.

November 15, 2021


ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Leaders should be getting out of their offices and into the field, according to SmartBrief.

Executives should spend more time on the front lines of their businesses and:

  • Complete front-line employee jobs to gain valuable insights about the business
  • Listen to employees, ask for their input and feedback on what works and what doesn’t and for customer insights
  • Motivate employees by spending time with them

SmartBrief used the example of Deliveroo CEO Will Shu delivering restaurant meals or groceries on a bike just like one of his company’s gig workers. Shu was able to recognize more competing companies that were promising 20-minute-or-less delivery. He saw firsthand how their ultra-fast service presented an existential threat to his business.

Visiting the front lines of the business also allows leaders to talk with employees and learn about the customers and/or the operations of the location. Employees “are often in the best position to let us know what works and what doesn’t—and they can be a valuable source of customer insights,” writes SmartBrief. Informal meetings offer different and often more candid commentary from employees than formal, routine meetings.

Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian spends half of his time with employees in breakrooms, airplane galleys, mechanics shops and airport terminals. This allows him to “lead from the front.” Visiting the front line also motivates your employees.

To help convenience retailers attract and retain top-notch people, NACS partnered with the nonprofit Good Jobs Institute in January 2020 to bring the Good Jobs Strategy to the industry.

A recent NACS webinar explored how retailers can attract and hire team members today and in the future. From virtual hiring to job shadowing, retailers are employing a host of ways to find and connect with potential workers. NACS Magazine explored how convenience stores are finding success in hiring in “Are You Ready for a Gen Z Workforce?” in the September 2021 issue.