Undercover Boss

I’ve been looking for a new show on Netflix to watch/play in the background while I work. A few have held my interest (Frasier, What Not to Wear, My Big American Gypsy Wedding) but one show has been on constant play in my queue: Undercover Boss.

undercover boss

If you’re unfamiliar with the premise, let me break it down for you. They take a high-powered executive (usually a CEO, COO, or President) of a company and they disguise him or her and have them work “on the front lines”; they do all the grunt work that has made them rich.

I’ve actually been very touched by what I’ve seen. So far, all of the execs have not only seen how they need to make changes in their company’s policies and practices, but also them as a person. One executive went as far to join a gym because he was inspired by his workers’ physical stamina!

Watching this show got me thinking: what would my team say about me if I went “undercover”? I hope that they would think I’m a good boss (though I don’t really feel like a boss; I’m not a fat cat in a suit, nor do I have the paycheck to match) but still…what would they say?

So I’ve made some goals for myself:

1. Listen to their concerns. Really listen. 

One of the major complaints from the workers on the show were that they felt like the higher-ups weren’t listening. There was a definite disconnect between those in the trenches and those in the high-rises.

2. Boost morale. 

Another common complaint was that the workers just did not look like they were enjoying themselves. In the episode where the CEO of White Castle worked flipping burgers, one of the managers said to the undercover CEO: “Does it look like they’re happy to be here?”  I want my team to be happy in their current positions. And not only that, but I want them to enjoy the work they do.

3. Recognize their achievements and give them praise.

There was an episode where the CEO of CGI (a distribution company) saw that his trainee (while he was undercover) was incorporating a new way to boost productivity and efficiency. He was blown away by her initiative and attention to detail. Later, when he revealed who he was to the worker and he recognized her great idea, she said: “No one has ever said they were proud of me.” (and cue tears)

I think these goals shouldn’t just be for “bosses”. How great would this world be if we used this same principles toward other areas? Imagine how our marriages, relationship with our kids, and our friends would flourish!