You ready for the most worn out leadership axiom every leader feels compelled to say? In order to be a transparent and approachable leader, with pure intention and genuine heart, every leader will float this one by their staff…
“My door is always open!”
Problems with the door always being open:
- The office – Your office is the “inner sanctum,” it’s where people go when they’re in trouble, everyone is scared of “the office.” It doesn’t matter if the door is always open, most of your staff don’t feel comfortable in your office. When you aren’t around they’ll sneak in to see your office, but will never stop by to see you personally.
- Suck ups – These people love the open door to make themselves look good. In 6th grade these same people were the teacher’s pet, always saying what they think you want to hear.
- Bashers – This is the agenda crowd and they want access to your office, so they can press their agenda. They come bearing problems only you can solve, bashing someone else in the organization who’s committed the unpardonable sin or “tattling” on so-and-so who isn’t honoring the leaders wishes or philosophy.
- Work – As leaders we badly need office time to think, plan, assess and always have a long list of things to accomplish. We need a quiet place to focus on the future. The office needs to be a haven and sanctuary, the place we can get uninterrupted time.
The people you want to spend time with won’t come and the people you don’t’ need to hear from will always come, burning what precious office time you have available. This type of open door isn’t the most effective. Carey Nieuwhof said it this way:
“Needy people will always demand and clamor for our attention. Healthy people have to be invited in.”
Obviously every leader wants to create accessibility, openness, to stay connected and communicate the right message. So don’t stand up at a staff meeting, company picnic or staff day and tell everyone your door is always open. Avoid the urge, fight the demon inside that screams for them to come to you.
If you truly want a REAL open door policy then walk thru the open door of your employee’s offices. Go to where they work, because great leaders lead with their feet.
Why Great Leaders Let Their Feet Do The Talking
The New and Improved Open Door Policy