Tuesday 20 October 2015

Get down on one knee

No, it’s not a proposal…

I use to work with a Senior Architects (later partner) who, whenever he was explaining something to you, he would get down on one knee beside your chair and patiently explain the detail or the design to you. He basically would get down to your level so he’s not “looming” over the top of you or leaning over your shoulder.

As junior staff member this senior person would make the effort to engage with me, a member of his team, at my level. This gained him so much respect and admiration from his staff that people would enjoy working with him and would go the extra mile to make sure tasks were completed to the best of their ability (or quite often better). We all wanted to please this person who was in a leadership role, we felt that he not only respected out capabilities but he also appreciated our efforts.

This individual has made such an impression on me that I adopted his technique of “getting down on one knee” when engaging with my team members one on one.

Engaging with your staff is important, at every level from the CEO to Custodian, each person has an important role in the business and has something valuable to contribute, make them feel valued by engaging with them on a human level.

Engagement is a fine line, you still need to be an authoritative position but also be seen as approachable. You should aim to be a great colleague, as opposed to a great friend, because one day you may have to discipline (or worse) a team member and there’s nothing worse than losing a friend because you had to do your job.

Get down on one knee to be engaging. ;-)


  1. Some people take the getting down on one knee as an infringement on their personal space. I am one of them. An engineer used to do that to me and it made me very uncomfortable.

    Just saying...

  2. That is a great point.... and it does raise some very important questions in regards to personal space and other HR issues, it's a fine line between being professional and being "overly" friendly. It's certainly something that you need to be able to gauge accurately for each person. And frankly this method may not be for everyone, there are other ways to engage your team members.

    Thanks for your comment.