I came across an article about “Why Apple Employees Never Wanted To Have Lunch With Steve Jobs” on Business Insider Singapore this morning and wondered how many times the same thing could be said about ourselves. Ourselves being in Steve Jobs’ shoes, so to speak. Apart from the fact that I strongly advocate us having a full third of our schedule as white space, and during which time eating alone could be one way of mulling things over or just dreaming, meals are a great way of deepening relationships with staff and/ or clients. When you go for lunch, do people ask to go with you? Not all the time, and not to “apple polish”, but simply because they feel comfortable enough with you and happened to bump into you in the hallway or the elevator. If you join a group of your staff having lunch, is there a kind of hush that falls all over the group? Sure, they’ll answer your questions and be very polite and respectful, but do they finish quickly and leave, or do they continue chatting with you and with each other over a drink as well?
Whether your staff are comfortable having lunch with you says a lot about how effective you are as a leader, doesn’t it? It’s also one way of telling the engaged, enthusiastic, high-performing staff from the rest. The latter would not want to have lunch with you. The former wouldn’t mind and would even look forward to it. If your staff are genuinely pulling their own weight, feeling proud of what they are accomplishing each day, they would welcome your looking over their work and asking them questions about what they’ve done or what they’re doing at the moment. Staff that aren’t performing, or just there to register their presence so they qualify for a paycheck at the end of the month, would likely slink away so they remain unseen and unnoticed.
Shall we have lunch? Where?