Management by Walking Around: Motivating and Developing Staff

Scott S. Bateman
Leaders & Managers
Published in
6 min readOct 18, 2018

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Credit: Pixabay Creative Commons license

Effective middle managers can become more effective by learning from an old ritual of Australian aborigines.

The “walkabout” was known as a rite of passage for aboriginal boys who would venture into the wilderness for months at a time as part of a spiritual transition to adulthood. Presumably, they would discover more about themselves and their environment as a way of surviving and thriving.

My son did something more modern and less risky: an Outward Bound class during three weeks in the Oregon wilderness. At one point, he had to camp all alone for three deeply introspective days. When he came home, we immediately saw in him a maturing and transforming experience. The positive difference in his personality was astonishing.

Good middle managers don’t have to venture into the wilderness for days, weeks or months to become better at their jobs. Instead, they can use a leadership tactic known as Management By Walking Around, also known as Management By Wandering Around (MBWA).

It means they simply quit using emails, phones and meetings as much. Using MBWA, they explore where they work in a way that teaches them more about their jobs, their companies and their fellow employees. That knowledge will make them better managers.

The manager…

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Scott S. Bateman
Leaders & Managers

Scott S. Bateman is a journalist and publisher. He spent nearly 3 decades in management including 2 major media companies. https://www.PromiseMedia.com