Regardless of whether or not your company has a formal “open door policy,” most of us have had someone say to us “my door is always open if you want to talk.” As we have moved into positions of authority, we have perhaps even uttered these words to people that report to or work with us.
Behind this statement, of course, is the good intention of encouraging open communication.
As a leader, one of the lessons I’ve learned is that just saying anything is not enough, and in this particular situation, asking people to come to you when you are their “boss” is, in fact, asking a lot.
This isn’t a rocket-science-type of revelation, but just a “shout out” to the effort that needs to accompany these words.
It’s not enough to just encourage people to talk with you, and unfortunately the higher up you move in an organizational hierarchy, the harder you have to work to get accurate and timely information from those who report to you.
There are actions you can take to demonstrate that your words have meaning. You can…
- leave your door open
- arrange your work area so that it invites “drop by” visits
- stop working and talk to people when they stop by
- not answer your phone when you’re in the middle of talking with someone
- schedule regular one-on-one meetings
Although these types of actions are only one step towards building communication within your group, they are still critical actions that build communication processes and demonstrate that you are willing to do things to support what you say.
What other actions have you taken to encourage people to talk with you?