As I get older, I am growing more and more frustrated with television. The number of channels and programs keep expanding and the number of quality shows keep contracting. I guess I am still holding out for modern versions of Star Trek, The Cosby Show and Family Ties. Because I miss them so much, I have adopted the collective personalities of Jean Luc Picard, Dr. Huxtable and Alex P. Keaton.
In those days, television shows had more substance and helped us understand the calculus of life. These programs were thought provoking. They explored, exposed and explained the world around us. As I flip through the four hundred or so channels, I can’t help but notice a profound change.
While there are numerous scathing examples of shows that add nothing to society, I couldn’t help but focus on what seemed to be a fairly innocuous one. No, it wasn’t about the Honey Boo Boo. It wasn’t about naked survival. Alas, it wasn’t even American Idol. The show that made me wish I could vomit to relieve my intractable nausea was Undercover Boss.
I know. I know! This is one of the good ones. It is one of those feel good underdog reality shows. This is the kind of show that stands up for the little guy. Most of us feel it’s the kind of show that, in the end, actually does some good. CBS entertainment describes Undercover Boss as a “reality show where bosses in disguise work amongst their employees to see how their companies really function.”
What! That’s when my jaw dropped. What’s the message here? First of all, the leaders should already know how their company works on the ground. Secondly, you’re probably not a very good leader if no one knows who you are? If you are a boss that is selected to be on this show, two things are clear. Nobody knows you and you have no idea how your company functions on the ground. What kind of leader is that?
At some level, we are all bosses. Whether we are middle management or simply the boss of our own household, there are a few requirements necessary for us to be successful. We must be present, visible and know what is happening on the ground. This is true for our spouses. This is true for our kids. This is definitely true for our jobs.
Whether you are a parent, leader, boss, teacher, senator or even the President of the United States, to be successful you must be present, visible and know what is happening on the ground.