Being approachable is key to building relationships with your colleagues, and to creating a strong team in which trust, confidence and ideas can flow. When you’re approachable, team members do not sit on, or cover up, problems. This means that they are able to bring issues to you before they become full-blown crises, because they know you won’t react badly.
Team members who have approachable managers feel able to contribute ideas, and find the workplace a safe environment in which to do so. They’re not scared about being knocked back, because they know their manager is open to their suggestions and will consider them fairly.
Certain organizations have reputations, correct or otherwise, for keeping their leaders in “ivory towers,” far away from their team members. In these high “power-distance” situations, you might have to call your boss “madam” rather than by her first name, and go through a PA if you want to talk to her. She might have her own reserved car-parking spot, chair meetings from the end of the table, send overly formal emails, and so on. It can be scary to approach this kind of person!
Often, leaders who act this way do so as a way of maintaining their authority. However, they will be missing out on opportunities to identify issues or discover ideas for improvement by not being “on the front line.” You’ll be much more approachable if you reduce power distance.
How approachable you appear to others is very much down to you. Sure, some of the people who work for you may have a fear of authority, but you need to break down those barriers and create an environment of trust.
Approachability is about being accessible, consciously breaking down perceived barriers, having appropriate body language, and using the right verbal communication and listening skills.How approachable you are, and Would you like to discover strategies for becoming more approachable in areas that are holding you back? comment below and let us discuss.
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