Leadership: Be Approachable

How many leaders do you know who are approachable?

Who put you at ease and make it easy to talk to them?
Who spend extra time and attention really listening to you?
Who make you feel comfortable?
Who have patience?

Do you know any leader with all those traits? If so, you are lucky.

Most leaders create segregation and separation, and miss the mark when it comes to accessiblity.

How can you become more approachable?

Put people at ease. An approachable leader makes people feel comfortable and at ease. People at ease can work together, connect, and communicate without fear of retribution.

Listen intensively. Approachable leaders listen more than they speak. As a leader, you don’t always have to fix things. Listening attentively is a key element of letting others speak and come up with solutions.

Stay curious. Approachable leaders stay open and ask lots of questions. Stay curious and interested – there is always room to learn something new.

Stop secrets.  Approachable leaders do not advocate keeping secrets. When you freely share personal and business information, you allow people to get to know you so they can understand you.

Be a sounding board. Approachable leaders understand that people will come to them with good and bad news. Show compassion and empathy; let people know they can always come to you.

Earn total trust. Approachable leaders possess a lot of information. Be intelligent and ethical in your use of this information, and give your people reason to trust you.

Remember, when you make yourself approachable you are looking for the best in your employees. You are valuing others for who they are.

As a leader, you don’t only lead – you must also stay open and listen. You must embrace compassion and engage empathy. Making yourself approachable and accessible it’s the secret ingredient to great leadership.

Lead From Within: Leadership is getting the best in your people. Make being approachable the governing trait of your leadership.


Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Dorothy Dalton

    11. Dec, 2012

    Lolly – I have had the pleasure of knowing some excellent leaders and they were without exception approachable – for the most part.

    I add that last caveat because good leaders have to be effective time managers and oftentimes approachability is a time eater. In those cases they had the wisdom to appoint a
    “gate keeperer” who could carry out a triage.

    This mainly worked, but there is always someone who feels they don’t get the attention they deserve.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      11. Dec, 2012


      Absolutely true, there is always someone who feels they don’t get the attention they deserve.

      And I love the idea of gate keeper carrying out the triage.

      Wonderful added wisdom.

      Thanks so much

      Reply to this comment
  2. Devron

    11. Dec, 2012

    Hi Lolly, love you blog and it is an interesting point to raise. I have met and know many great leaders but they simply don’t tick all the boxes.

    Most leaders surround themselves with a circle of trusted people who become their deflectors to the masses. Not sure I agree with this but I do realize that our world becomes more instant and people and resources become more accessible, transparency may be key to greater leadership.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      11. Dec, 2012


      I always believe we can slow down to go faster, and in that sense be accessible and approachable so people do not take up all the time putting out fires…. Make time for small bite size of information ….in the long run it serves everyone.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Beth Miller

    12. Dec, 2012


    The leaders I have worked with have had the ability to show that they cared. And approachability is one way to demonstrate you care about those you lead.

    The hardest for most is dealing with the interruptions without making those approaching you feel that they are interrupting. Those leaders with finesse can welcome an interruption with a smile. Many leaders require development in this area of “joyful” interruption.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Ade Sobanjo

    12. Dec, 2012

    Thanks Lolly,
    I have had to deal with balancing being approachable with being an effective time manager lately. What I resolved to doing is to always be approachable when I am available and to do all my “serious” work away from the public. That means if you see me then I will try to always be ready to listen to you.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Edgy Dulds

    12. Dec, 2012

    I come to know someone who doesn’t even care to meet his staff for one year [and counting]. Just do a one-on-one talk on a once-in-a-blue-moon moment. Also shows clear bias in the room.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Edgy Dulds

    12. Dec, 2012

    And when you come to his desk, he’ll just say, “Yes, that’s what I was thinking,” “Yes.” “B;ah. Blah.” and yet no action will be done.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Marc Zazeela

    13. Dec, 2012

    Lolly – Love this stuff. Good leaders do not reside in ivory towers.


    Reply to this comment
  8. Andy Phillips

    13. Dec, 2012

    It’s a very important point Lolly particularly when you say about not having to always fix things. I remember being told once by someone “I don’t want you to solve my problem I want you to understand my problem”. This was a major learning moment for and since I have focussed on understanding and letting the solving emerge.
    Always love your blog etc

    Reply to this comment
  9. Anna Christina

    14. Dec, 2012

    Great post. I struggle with balancing time management and being approachable. I am trying to address this by being proactive about approaching my employees at some point throughout the day to check in. It helps me limit the distractions and still touch base with them.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Stacie Walker

    14. Feb, 2014


    I simply loved this post. You delivered nice and strongly. You are such an inspiration to me. Thanks for being a fine example for us to grow into better leaders.

    Stacie Walker
    Woman in Leadership Founder

    Reply to this comment
  11. Ziaur Rahman

    07. Oct, 2020

    Good point. Good learning for me from your post and posts of others. Indeed, the balance between time management and having your door open for others to come in share views have to be planned.

    Reply to this comment

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