A new reality TV show called Undercover Boss will soon hit the air. The idea is for top executives to go undercover by working as rank and file (ordinary) employees in their own organization. Each week a different executive will work undercover deep inside their company.
While working alongside their employees, they will see the effects their decisions have on others, where the problems lie within their organization and get an up-close look at both the good and bad while discovering the unsung heroes who make their company run. -Undercover Boss website
The show is set to premiere (in the US) in February 2010 after the Super Bowl (American football).
It seems that by helping executives become aware of what it’s like at the bottom of the ladder in their corporate hierarchy, that they would somehow become enlighten and change how they conduct business and/or run the organization.
Peter Senge says, “The quality of our leadership depends on the quality of our awareness.”
Among the leadership competencies identified, emotional intelligence is one quality that is important for effective leadership (Goleman, cited in Yukl, 2010).
Emotional intelligence is the extent to which a person is attuned to his or her own feelings and to the feelings of others and is able to integrate emotions and reason such that emotions are used to facilitate cognitive processes, and emotions are cognitively managed. – Gary Yukl
Emotional intelligence can help leaders solve complex problems, improve decision-making and time management, adapt to changing situations and better manage crises (Yukl, 2010).
So by working alongside ordinary workers, these CEOs will (hopefully) gain emotional insights into what life is like to work in that job for that company. They will gain skills to better understand what it’s like to “walk in their workers’ shoes.”
Yukl, G. (2010). Leadership in organizations (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.