Forget the Elevator, Start Taking the Stairs

Recently, after our office had a routine fire drill, I found myself choosing to take the stairs back up to my office in order to avoid the long queue at the elevator. Feeling absolutely miserable and out of shape when I reached the top, I decided to make a point to take the stairs at least once a day at the office no matter how hard it may be.

Now that I have been taking the stairs for a few weeks, I’ve found myself applying this metaphor of “ditching the elevator to take the stairs” to my leadership style. Instead of taking the quick approach to being a successful manager, leader or boss we ought to really put in the hard work, take our time, and climb those stairs.

In my own experience, leaders that “take the stairs” are more successful in the long run for the following reasons:

They Create a Better Culture: Just like a baker knows that the secret to making a good pound cake is to add one egg at a time, a real leader knows that in order to build a successful team you must add new team members at a nice, steady pace. Each person that you hire will significantly impact your company culture and future success therefore it is important not to rush getting new members onboard. Putting in the hard work to make sure each candidate is a good fit will help you to build the best team possible.

They Don’t Run Out of Steam: Trying to get all of your leadership responsibilities out all at once is never the best strategy as a boss or manager. If you overwhelm your team with just one day of team bonding, performance meetings, free pizza, and employee engagement you will find no success as a leader. Building your team to be successful and respect your leadership takes more than just one day, in fact you should be working towards this goal every day.

They Appreciate the View: Last year I visited the Empire State Building in New York. In order to make it to the top you are required to take two separate elevators. The day I visited it was extremely busy and the line for the elevator was especially long. I was offered the opportunity to take the stairs for the remaining flights to the top. When I finally made it to the rooftop, the view of Manhattan was that much sweeter and I stayed a bit longer because of the effort it took to get there. As a leader, your team is just the same. Once you put together the right team and take the time to mentor them and help them grow, the results will be that much sweeter and you will feel a true sense of accomplishment in the success of the team.

Moral of the story is—you may get tired around the 5th or 6th floor if you take the stairs, but you shouldn’t give up or take the easy way out. To build the best team, grow respect, and help your employees to thrive in their jobs is the mark of a true leader and to become that leader you have to put in the work. So the next time you find yourself taking the easy way out in your job as a manager or boss, turn the corner and take the stairs and I promise the view won’t disappoint.


Denis Coleman

Denis Coleman is the founder and CEO of Work Compass, a cloud staff performance collaboration software platform that helps teams align their efforts with strategic goals and continuously improve performance. Frustrated with the disconnect between strategy setting and day to day execution and the lack of tools available to managers to help them be great at their most important function …. Aligning their teams activities with strategic goals and actively managing for high performance Denis spent over 5 years researching strategy execution and performance management practices before founding Work Compass to create a software solution. Denis has held senior roles in Ireland, Czech Republic and North America with high performing electronics manufacturing and professional services organisations for more than 12 years. Denis has worked as Finance Director responsible for €800 million in annual revenues for Flextronics International, Key Account Manager responsible for annual revenues of more than €600 million for Dovatron International and Management Consultant for BDO one of Europe’s most successful professional services providers.

Follow us

Get the newsletter