Many people are now enjoying a deserved rest as we rush headlong towards the festive season. It means for others they are having to fill the gaps at work and make sure that the business can still keep functioning over Christmas and New Year.
For me it has meant some time supporting the work of the front line communication team. Back to the time of answering the phones to the media, drafting statements and preparing media releases. It is not something I do everyday, it can’t be because of the other pressures and workload. But it is a really important thing to do and I can recognise the problems and issues that staff are raising, and hopefully then help them to find solutions.
It is all too easy to become distant from the work that is at the heart of what you do. Managers can lock themselves away in offices, bury themselves in strategy and planning, and concern themselves with the financial bottom line. This is such a significant issue that we have even seen programmes trying to take bosses back to the floor. Unfortunately, I still think many senior people fail to make the time to check out and question what is happening at the sharp end of the business.
On Friday, it was the usual busy last day of work pre-Christmas rush to drink to excess that is known as ‘mad Friday’. All police forces have to prepare for it and have the right people in place to deal with what may happen. In the middle of this busy night my boss was out with the frontline officers to experience first hand what they were facing. At the same time the corporate communication team were busy trying to give people a feel for what was happening on the streets. They used social media to highlight the police activity in place and the events that were happening. They did some amazing work right through the night into the early hours of Saturday morning. I had to reflect that if we spend so much time in explaining things to people how can we accept having senior managers who are unaware of the front line of service? In short, we can’t.
It may be something that happens out of necessity because of staffing gaps, or to keep in touch but it doesn’t matter why bosses go back to the floor or the frontline. The important thing is that they do it.