Would You Ride In The Boss’s Wheelbarrow?

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Would You Ride In The Boss’s Wheelbarrow?

How much faith do you have that your manager is looking out for your best interest.  If you are the manager, how trusting are you in the abilities of your people?  The answers to these questions will tell you a great deal about the engagement and cohesiveness of your work group.

In the late 1850s, a 34 year old French acrobat who went by the name of the Great Blondin attached a rope   from one side of Niagara to the other in an attempt to tightrope walk across the falls.  1300 feet long and only two inches in diameter, and without any of the safety precautions found in today’s daredevil shows.  Blondin successfully crossed the falls with onlookers watching to see if he would plunge to his death in the icy water below.  He crossed Niagara many times and at one point he pushed a wheelbarrow out onto the rope and asked the crowd below if anyone was brave enough to ride in the wheelbarrow as he pushed it across the falls.  Not surprisingly, there were no takers.  That is until one man shouted from the crowd that he would ride across.  That man was Blondin’s manager, Harry Colcord.  Blondin did not push Colcord across the falls, but he DID carry him on his shoulders as he walked across the rope.



Fortunately, not many of us have to put this amount of trust in the hands of our manager or employees just to complete a day’s work.  But it still begs the question.  How far would you go to support your colleagues?  Our data, collected from employee engagement and satisfaction surveys shows that managers who score well on the following characteristics are seen as high performers by their organization.

  • My manager will go to bat for me when needed
  • My manager’s actions match his/her words
  • My manager is candid when discussing organizational issues

These managers also have teams that are regularly engaged in interesting projects and will put in the effort required to get the work accomplished without being prodded to do so.  In other words, employees that have these managers are less likely to be looking for a job while they are at work.

Conversely, managers who trust their employees to get the job done without having to watch over their every move, are able to focus on the planning and strategizing required to make their department really shine.  So the next time your boss asks you if you would be able to attend a meeting in her absence, it could be far worse.  At least you don’t have to climb in a wheelbarrow and head out over the falls!



By | 2016-10-25T16:34:03+00:00 April 22nd, 2015|Blog, Leadership|Comments Off on Would You Ride In The Boss’s Wheelbarrow?