It can feel like a good leadership move to sympathize with the problems of your employees or workers. We all get to see that same storyline of sympathy play out in a show like Undercover Boss where the detached executive experiences the difficulties on the front lines.
That is designed to pull on your heart strings for sure. And the experience, I am sure, is not completely without merit.
But the problem with sympathizing with those on the front lines is that you can easily lose perspective on leading. You identify with their problems rather than seeing the bigger picture.
Then you are not meeting their real needs. The trenches can drag you into the drama and micro issues. But the vantage point that you have in leadership is the ability to move the big pieces. You can meet the real needs of changing processes, introducing a better system and affecting overall culture.
Yes, there is valuable feedback in the trenches, but it’s not where change effectively happens. It’s where execution happens and drama can play out. Take a look at the trenches. But then lead and meet the real needs you see.