If you’re in an influential position, you’ve probably told employees something to the effect of “My door is always open.” It’s likely that you genuinely meant the declaration. You might feel that you are a pretty approachable leader, and that others feel comfortable coming to you with their issues and ideas. That may be true - but it may not be. Leaders often have an inflated idea of how easy it is for others to speak honestly to them. If you want people to give it to you straight, start by asking yourself several questions:
- Are you honestly interested in others’ opinions?
- Have you considered how risky it feels for others to speak up to you?
- What specifically do you need to do and say to enable others to speak up?
Once you have a better sense of what’s standing in people’s way, whether it’s your behaviour or not, you can take steps to remove those obstacles. You might reduce status differences by dressing more casually; introducing a “red card” at executive committee meetings to ensure someone has the ability to challenge you; or holding your extroversion in check so that others get a moment to speak.
The above leadership tip...
was sent in response to a question from a participant on our 10/10 leadership development and mentoring programme, and adapted from The Problem with Saying ‘My Door Is Always Open by Megan Reitz and John Higgins. Whether you're a first time manager or an experienced leader, straightforward, practical advice on best practice is hard to find. Until now. To find out how you, your team or your organisation can benefit, please join us on our next complimentary webinar or contact us.