A leader’s connection to his or her team is vital to success. In order for the leader to receive all important feedback, he or she must be accessible.
Many of us tell our staffs, “My door is always open.” We think we’ve said it many times. We are surprised when we find out that the people who report to us, especially those who report to others who work for us, are very unhappy about some policy or initiative. Perhaps we need to look at the other messages that we’re sending.
How open are we to new ideas and other perspectives in meetings? If we shut down conversation that isn’t consistent with our ideas in meetings, how will people think that talking to us one on one is going to be different?
We all have bad days where we aren’t proud of how we react to someone. A leader who wants to be approachable needs to publicly apologize for their own bad acts. So if we cut someone down to size in a meeting for making a negative comment, we need to apologize in that same forum to tell that person and others that we don’t consider our behavior acceptable.
Do you interact with people below your direct reports on a formal basis? You should at least know know who works for your direct reports. How often are they included in meetings with you where there is discussion? If they have limited to no experience interacting with you, what makes you think that they’ll turn to you when they’re unhappy?
Do you interact with people below your direct reports on an informal basis? I once spoke to a man who worked twelve feet from his boss’s boss, yet in ten years they never spoke one on one! Do you think that this man would ever take advantage of that second level supervisor’s open door policy?
When your team talks to you in your office, do you give them your undivided attention? I know that for awhile, I had the unfortunate habit of trying to multitask while people were talking to me. Not only was it rude, but I was telling them that they weren’t really important to me.
Accessibility is an important aspect of forging connections to your team. You don’t want to be the clueless leader that has to find out from a third party that you’re out of touch. Looking at your practices and behavior can get you moving in the right direction.
QUESTION: How do you make sure that you are accessible?
Leadership/Career Coach Kris Ishibashi works with leaders to bring together their skills, their authentic selves, and their intentions to inspire their organizations to superior performance. Click here to set up a complimentary consultation.