Hey, Leaders! – Be Sure to Mingle with the Common Folks (w/update)

Mingle:  to bring or mix together or with something else usually without fundamental loss of identity; to move about, as in a group


Call this a thought for a Saturday.

Earlier this week, I spoke to a group of about 40 department heads at an area hospital (a Medical Center).  These were department heads and their top colleagues.  It was a wonderful session, and the room was absolutely alive with conversation.  (I love it when a room is so alive!).

Sitting in the front row, front and center, absolutely engaged in all of the events of the session, was the CEO of the Medical Center.  There she was, “mingling with the common folks.”

(The common folks – you know, those who actually get all the work done in an organization).

The management and leadership literature of the last couple of decades shouts this principle as loudly as possible.  Leaders need to “manage by walking around,” need to be accessible, need to knock down those silos.  People do better when they mingle, when they constantly interact, and people do a lot better when one of those regular “minglers” is the top leader.

And, I hate to tell you this – but a common refrain I hear from group after group goes like this:  “This is great material. I wish my boss were here to hear this.”  In other words, mingling by the boss with the common folks is far too rare.  (Do leaders never read any of this stuff?!)

So, kudos to this particular CEO.  And I suspect the energy in the room was partly the energy that comes from a group that knows that their top leader cares about them, pays attention to them, listens to them… “mingles” with them.

So, if you are a leader, remember this simple counsel:

“Mingle with the common folks.”

And, if you are a leader and your folks think you are inaccessible, distant, not available, never seen…  well, you’ve got some changing to do!



My blogging colleague, Bob Morris, made the point that actually there are no “common” people  (see comments below).  I certainly agree.  I was trying to make that exact point, and maybe I should have been a little more elegant in my word choice.  And, Bob is right, the CEO at the Medical Center fully understands that the entire team is made up of people with an uncommon commitment to provide the best care for the people who come through their doors.

Sadly, far too many leaders do view themselves as “above” others, and we sense this by their inaccessibility, their distance, their failure to interact, their “absence” from so many opportunities to mingle with members of the entire team.  Thus, I used the term “the common folks” to make the point.  In an ideal world, leaders would understand this, and there would not be the all-too-often-heard criticisms by members of teams that their leaders are not as accessible as they wish they were, as they need them to be.

(I also wrote about this in an earlier blog post:  Natalie Portman Reminds Us Well – There Are No Little People.)

One thought on “Hey, Leaders! – Be Sure to Mingle with the Common Folks (w/update)

  1. Randy Mayeux Post author

    Bob, I completely agree with you. My inelegant wording was actually trying to make the same point. See my update.


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