Lead On Your Feet Or From Your Seat?


Lead On Your Feet Or From Your Seat?

Given the increasing number of emails in all our inboxes (mostly junk mail), the reality is that email may not always be the most effective way of communicating. If you are co-located with team members, you could go to their desk rather than send an email. I find that team members appreciate the gesture and often tell you things they would not have written to you in an email.

To quote Herman Edwards, the ex-American football player and coach, you “lead from your feet, not your seat.” Get out there and meet your team members, engage in chit-chat if you can, have casual conversations about their interests, get to know them as individuals, what makes them tick, and what is their mental makeup. This beats sitting at your desk, just pumping out emails and orders to your team. Leadership, after all, is mental.

Most of the time when I have asked a team member a series of questions via email, I find that they tend to answer the questions, but don’t necessarily provide additional, often useful, information. On the other hand, when I have gone over to their desk, or called on the phone, they usually provide more information that is pertinent and unsolicited. If you are not co-located, maybe pick up the phone and call your team member, rather than relying solely on email communication.

Do you find you lead better on your feet or on your seat?

By Dayo Sowunmi II

Dayo Sowunmi II

Co-Founder at

Project Leader, Human Rights supporter, Speaker, Author and Entrepreneur. I have successfully led small and large teams including multi-million dollar initiatives globally, consistently adding value for partners and clients. My work on the people-side of leadership has received acclaim and published in several international publications. I recently published a book, Leadership Is Mental, offering fun and fresh ways to lead, mind-read and motivate your team, and how to look after yourself.

The Anode Group

Consulting and strategy


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Comments (1)

Yee Trinh

Yee Trinh, Cofounder at

Plus it adds steps to my FitBit ;) I believe it depends on the situation. In our organisation, we use a combination of Skype, Asana and email to communicate about smaller, more urgent issues. With more complex topics, face to face is more time efficient and valuable.