Being visible as a leader is essential. Some leaders are too insulated from the “front lines” to know what is really going on. My great uncle Robert Lawrence Eichelberger was a legendary leader in the Army. West Point grad and later the Superintendent. Commander of the 8th Army in WWII eventually a 4 Star General and inducted into the Fort Leavenworth Hall of Fame.
In his book, Our Jungle Road to Tokyo, he wrote: “I may not be a good general, but I think I’ve got the makings of a good platoon leader”. He was always near the front, unlike MacArthur. His most pressing concern was for his men. Whenever he passed a group of them, he asked how the war was going, and did they mind it, and were they getting enough food. Whenever he was riding a jeep, he always loaded it full of soldiers.
“There is an ancient military maxim that a commander must be seen by his troops in combat. I was glad that day that there were three stars on my collar which glittered in the sun. How else would those sick and cast-down soldiers have known their commander was in there with them?” The security detail with him of course did NOT want anyone to see his stars because of potential snipers.
What can you do as a leader to be seen more often?
When was the last time you were in the field, on the front lines and in front of a customer?
Do your “troops” know you understand what they go through every day?
After taking Buna General MacArthur wrote him:
I am so glad that you were not injured in the fighting. I always feared your incessant exposure might result fatally. With a hearty slap on the back. Most cordially, MacArthur.