When it comes to your life, there’s nothing casual about it. The same holds true for your personal life and sex or the office. There is no such thing as casual sex. There’s also no such thing as casual leadership. You’re either an engaged leader or you are not.
As an organization leader, I have always been a proponent of MBWA or Management by Walking Around. On a daily basis, I would wonder, casually walking around the office, call center, plant, or retail location I oversaw. But there was purpose with my wanderings, making them not very casual or wondering at all.
My goal was to engage an intended target, an employee open to answering questions, making small talk, or having conversations along the way. Sometimes I would wonder by Team 6 to check in on my new hires or spot check beams to audit our team’s most recent safety evaluation. On the surface, it appeared casual, but there was a method to my casual madness. It was targeted, meticulous, and calculated.
In retail, we called this walking the race track. Think of mall walking but with a purpose. Those managers that choose to walk the racetrack chatted with customers, checked in with employees, and evaluated their surroundings, relationships all with an end game in mind. That end game could vary depending on the person. Selling more widgets, getting home early, or out of sheer boredom. There was nothing casual about it.
Sometimes managers walk through the motions. Employees are the same way. Choosing to be casual when they really are disengaged, unhappy, or unmotivated to go beyond the surface and let their guard down and live. Going through the motions and doing what my mom calls half-assing it along the way. We only have one life to live, one moment in time. Life, sex, or play isn’t casual. Why should your work life as an organizational leader be any different?