“Power creates distance. Leaders bridge the gap”
– Phil Wilson
Open door policies are great, but in reality, you’re not always going to have the time for staff issues as they come to your door or if you’re blindsided by a Zoom call. This may result in a sharper or less approachable response than if a friend turned up at your door on a Saturday afternoon. (Pre-social distancing, of course…)
Creating an approachable attitude can also mean you have access to information that gives you a competitive egde. It’s better to know rather than be left out of the loop…
So, how do we create a culture of approachability to benefit you and your staff?
- Create designated time
- Having set time for formal and informal catch up sessions shows you want to listen to staff.
- This approach will create a time and space for staff to discuss their issues.
- Create space for feedback
- As old school as it is, a suggestion box for those who are not quite ready to approach or broach a subject with you can encourage a sense of openness.
- Be sure to let staff know when a suggestion or feedback was taken on board.
- Engage active listening
- Watch your body language and facial expressions in conversations.
- Ask open ended questions using the silence as an opportunity for your staff to open up.
- Most people will want to fill that gap of silence so let it be your staff rather than you.
- Make a good first impression
- Smiles, good humour and a caring nature can go a long way and can set the tone for years to come.
- Be sincere
- Remember if someone has approached you, it is because they think you can help.
- No matter how odd the request may be, be genuine and let them know what you will be doing about it.
- Don’t shoot the messenger
- Staff will sometimes offer suggestions that others are thinking.
- Or may offer something because they don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle like you do.
- If you react badly, they might not want to be the person to raise it next time.
This is by no means an exhaustive list.
Just some ProEx Practicals