Why be an undercover boss?

Because your team will not tell you what they think you don’t want to hear.

I love Channel 4’s “Undercover Boss” The episode last week had the new boss of Harry Ramsden’s famous fish and chip restaurants going undercover. What did she find?

Marija Simovic puts on the cunning disguise of blond hair and works as a trainee in various branches. There are recurring themes in these programmes, like a type of soap opera, a business soap!

One theme I like is that the staff always know what is wrong with the business and what needs to be done. Going incognito enables Marija to listen to the people on the ground, when they are off guard.

Typically staff have given up pointing out the obvious. The obvious is having enough chip fryers to stop the willing customers walking away because they got bored waiting, for example.

A good leader listens. A great leader listens a lot and acts and recognises her team.

The second thing that amazes me about people, is how much they will put up with!

So could Marija have learnt all she learnt from her senior management team? Ideally yes, but we live with reality. In the real world people will not tell you what they think, which is a pity because it could possibly really help the bottom line.

An obvious flaw in these programmes, and this episode was no exception, is that the staff actually rumble what’s going on. The most junior one, a rising star called Ashleigh, actually admits that she has seen through the disguise. But who cares, it’s a good soap!

see also “I am driven” For more information

About drstevelewis

Good leadership is essential for any project to succeed. I specialise in the most difficult leadership challenges; those involving the way we relate to other people or the way they relate to us. With a background of many years in business and an earlier training in medicine I combine the two in a unique consultancy.
This entry was posted in Big business failure, Finding success in business, Leadership, Managing people, Success, The Bottom Line, TV reviews, Undercover Boss and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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