Effective Leadership: How to Be Approachable
Think of some of the best managers that you have worked for. Why did you like working for them? Most likely one of the reasons that you liked working for them is that they were approachable – you felt like you could come to them with an idea, problem or just about anything related to your job. Not only could you come to them, but they really listened to you. If you are a top manager or leader, you probably want to be approachable to your team as well. Here are a few tips that will put you on track to become an effective, approachable leader.
Make people feel comfortable
It seems like common sense, but some managers have a way of making people feel uncomfortable. They either display a bit of arrogance – I am above you, or act intimidating. It’s okay to get a little personal with people, making them laugh, asking about their family or life outside of work (within reason of course). When people are comfortable around each other, they work and communicate better as well.
We have a natural tendency to talk more than we listen. We want to fix everything. But letting people talk often results in the other person generating problem solving ideas.
Trust is earned. This is true with your employees. Be ethical when dealing with sensitive information that you know about someone.
Don’t be secretive
Is there information that you can share with your team about how the company is doing? Is there a big issue going on that they need to know about to understand how people are acting? Share not only successes of the company, but struggles as well.
Never stop learning
Good leaders never stop asking questions of their team. Ask for their opinion on how to improve a certain process or how they think a procedure could be more efficient.
Be a Sounding Board
Let people know that they can come to you with the good and the bad. People are often terrified of coming to their managers with the bad. But if you handle the bad patience and fairness, they are more likely to come to you before things get REALLY bad.
Being an approachable leader does not mean that you have to let people monopolize your time. I think one of these suggestions is the most important – never stop learning how to find that balance in your leadership role.
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