What does an “open-door policy” mean to you?
There are many leaders who like to use this phrase to describe how they interact with their employees, but like many phrases that reach a certain level of ubiquity, it easily can become more of a pithy statement that isn’t backed up by action.
If you keep your door open all day but no employees ever come in to talk to you, is it really an open door or are there unseen barriers keeping people out?
Being an accessible leader is more about what you do than what you say. It’s about serving your people, not expecting them to treat you as king of the office.
Advisory firm owners should not overlook the positive engagement and performance benefits they and their entire team can experience when leaders live and work in an accessible way.
If you want to ensure that you’re being accessible, there are a few rules you can follow to be sure you’re acting in a way consistent with those values.
The Key Characteristics
In our client work we see accessible leaders, and we see some who aren’t. Here are three key traits that make leaders accessible:
1. They are intentional. One of the hallmarks of an accessible leader is that they schedule and keep one-on-one meetings with their team because they value the relationship that can be built from these meetings.
This time of personal connection is important because it gives you an opportunity to go deeper with your team than a quick “how’s your day?”
If you need to move the meeting, there also is intentionality and consideration behind rescheduling. Accessible leaders are thoughtful of their employees’ time, instead of expecting them to upheave their day to fit their boss’ ever-changing schedule.
2. They are structured. Accessible doesn’t mean open 24/7 for questions, but it does mean that a leader has been careful consideration into having a set availability that’s known to employees, so they know how to reach you — and when.