In my work as a leadership coach, I spend an enormous amount of time with top corporate leaders and successful entrepreneurs. One trait that the best of them seem to share is an open-door policy. They hold a strong commitment to their people and want to make sure, no matter how busy they are, that they’re available and easily accessible to anyone on their team who needs support, is struggling to solve a problem, or has a great idea.
An open-door policy is a great leadership practice at any time, but it’s even more important when your people are scattered and working remotely. Whether your open door takes the form of a video conference feed, a text or phone line, or another mode of communication, here are some of the top ways it can help the people on your team:
Alleviate their anxiety. When people are fearful, it helps them to know that the person in charge is there to help talk them through their anxiety. An effective leader can tap into what their people are thinking and feeling and guide them toward positivity—a skill that’s never more important than when your team is working through a challenging crisis.
Help them navigate outside their comfort zone. It’s enormously stressful for employees when suddenly everything about their job is different: how they accomplish their work, how documentation and communication are handled, how time and achievements are tracked. Faced with this situation, many people try to muddle through, acting as if nothing has changed. Having a leader who can lend clarity and purpose is critical, especially when it’s time to begin looking ahead toward building more sustainable new processes.
Support them through stress. Left unmanaged, stress can do all kinds of things to harm focus and productivity. In the past you might have had one or two people going through a stressful circumstance, but at a time when every single person on your team is facing additional stress at the same time, your presence and planning are required to keep the effects from spiraling out of control. An open door is an important part of helping people feel supported and hopeful.
Keep them motivated. In the early days of a crisis, people are energized and focused, willing to do whatever it takes to meet the immediate need. But when the crisis lingers longer than anyone expected with no clear end in sight, people begin to feel discouraged and exhaustion sets in. The ear and voice of a strong leader are necessary to help them pivot back to productivity and keep them moving forward.
Everywhere we turn right now, someone is saying “we’re here for you” and “we’re all in this together.” It’s far more meaningful to show your support, and the best way to do that is by being available and accessible when your people need you.
Lead from within: The leader’s availability is the difference between a team feeling supported or not supported.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: iStockPhotos
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.
Jacqueline F Casey
17. May, 2020
Hi Dolly! I agree the best leaders have the open-door policy. We need to remember to model listening and create a culture of psychological safety to make sure people will use that policy. Thank you, as always, for the great post! Best, Jacqueline