It appears like a polite and sincere action for all supervisory, executive, or managerial responsibilities. Giving their team permission to knock on their door whenever they feel the need to do so to voice concerns still strikes me as a progressive servant leadership practise, which is why it’s so common.
It’s a check-the-box strategy that gives the impression that the leader is interested, caring, and ready to listen. It’s possible that the leader really is all of those qualities. Perhaps the team’s leader genuinely believes that they should be able to bypass any direct line of command inside the organization’s internal structure at any moment to bring complaints, work-related concerns, or personal difficulties to their attention. I for one did.
As a leader, I’ve always had an open door policy. Whenever I took on a new leadership position, I would usually start by inviting my colleagues into my office. I believed that being transparent would improve my relatability and approachability. Having an open-door policy initially appeared like a noble distinctive attribute to my leadership style, but then I started to discover several difficulties and disadvantages:
- It is hardly applied.
I occasionally dealt with sincere worries from coworkers who had faith in me. But, most of the time, my open door served as a forum for general complaints and grouses about coworkers, and the entrance to my office would appear to be a petri dish for biassed toxic deposits of gossip and improper comments. This repeatedly interfered with production and did not encourage constructive conflict resolution. In my absence, my teammates engaged in sarcastic remarks and apathetic body language about real matters. I was blissfully unaware in my high tower, imagining everything was OK throughout the kingdom.
- I became the opposite in an attempt to be more personable and engaged.
What was happening down the hall slipped my mind. My connections with my teammates deteriorated. The employees knew I was available if there were any problems because my door was always open. Yet, I wasn’t always awake and diligent without my staff warning me about problems. You can’t be sitting in an office and see your teammate struggling or feeling worn out. You cannot remain seated at your desk and ignore the conflicts among your coworkers. No matter how wide open your office door is, you can’t see burnout on the faces of your workers. You must participate. To start conversations with knowledgeable staff, you must look for them. You must show your people that you care. Success comes into its own if everyone works towards the same goal. Ford, Henry
- Acted unintentionally as a chain-of-command override.
I fiercely disliked the climate of micromanagement that resulted from making the team dependent on my decisions in order to undermine the lead workers in leadership positions below me. Micromanagement slows development. I always want my employees to have a sense of empowerment, to believe in their judgement, to take responsibility for their actions, to grow personally, and to recognise their own greatness. For this kind of growth, micromanagement creates unsupportable and unproductive conditions. Inadvertently and mistakenly conveying to the team that I somehow didn’t trust the lead workers’ capacity to address concerns so that the team could take advantage of my open-door policy if they ever felt that the lead workers were ill-equipped to address issues as well, I had already betrayed my first-line leaders before I could recognise the instability this created. Making yourself accessible to your team shouldn’t be a passive effort, and it shouldn’t come at the expense of the respect your team has for the subordinate leaders.
The best course of action is to not advertise an open-door policy. Show up for your team in such a way that you won’t need to explicitly state your support for them in a policy because they’ll have faith in you to uphold expectations, make decisions, settle disputes, and manage issues in a way that advances the team’s mission. They don’t require a policy informing them that you are there for them if you are already there for them.
Hi, I’m Garima and I write about life experiences. I have several books available on Amazon. Check them out today! Any purchases or KDP reads will be greatly appreciated. If you like my books, do leave a review. Here’s my author page on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0BQDZXYNV