Among leaders, it’s quite common to see a certain detachment or stand-offish nature between management and employees. For most leaders, the intention is “keep a distance,” to maintain some level of professionalism or authority.
However, being personable is one of the stronger leadership qualities a person can have. While stern, distant leadership may seem like a means of garnering respect, it will inevitably stifle collaboration, communication and flow of information.
Leaders who know how to operate on the human side of things tend to form stronger bonds with peers, clients and employees.
If you think back to the best boss you’ve ever had, they probably embodied the traits of a more approachable leader, which made you like, respect and trust them.
When a situation gets sticky, an employee is much more likely to come to an approachable leader with their issue, instead of trying to “cover it up” or fix it on their own.
Unapproachable leaders often live in a world of ignorance — plenty goes on around them without their knowledge because others are too scared to include them in the dialogue.
Ignorance comes at a big sticker price, but can be easily remedied with greater communication, feedback and collaboration.
All leaders have room to grow, it’s just a matter of in which direction. If you’re frustrated with the results you’re getting or the relationship to your team, consider the problem may be you and how comfortable your team feels with approaching you.
Try these simple adjustments to your everyday interactions, to become a more approachable leader.
Whether or not you perceived the contribution to be a “good” one or not is irrelevant. The simple act of acknowledging and thanking your team member for their input will encourage them (and the rest of your team) to keep contributing in the future.
If you ignore or shut down an idea, you effectively cut of the trust in your team and can be sure you won’t receive much feedback in the future.
If you decide against an idea or suggestion, share your reasoning; especially if you asked for input in the first place.
If you don’t explain your thought process, you leave room for others to make their own interpretations, which can often be worse than reality.
Commit to getting to know your team outside of a work environment. It could be as simple as a lunch outing, team building exercise or after work cocktails.
While it’s important to learn about your team members and what they value, remember they also want to get to know you. Share a bit of yourself that shows your character away from the workplace.
Relating on a personal-level can benefit your professional relationships more than you know.
As a leader, you’ve got a lot on your plate, probably more than any of your team members. However, you must demonstrate to your team that you value their time and responsibilities as much as your own.
Reliability comes in many forms, such as being on time for meetings, getting information or resources to your team when you say you will, making good on your word when it comes to promotions, bonuses, etc.
When team members know they can count on you, they’re keener to return the same courtesy.
Keep in mind, approachability and professionalism are not mutually exclusive — you can have the best of both worlds! If you are naturally a less personable person, put in the extra effort and you’ll be sure to get more out of your employees.
Becoming a more approachable leader is just a piece of the puzzle, for more, download a FREE chapter of my book right here.