Over the last few weeks, I have had a number of breakfasts and lunches with other executives and the question of approachability continues to come up. One was concerned that there had been an employee issue that he hadn’t heard about. Another said that she didn’t get the complete story on something that had affected some of the staff. Basically, the executives were questioning their own approachability… and they should. Executives who fail to keep a pulse on effective communication and approachability with staff may be assuming a better employee relationship than they actually have. This could prove to become detrimental to the ultimate success of the company.
Break the Ice
An executive’s approachability sets the stage for a positive work environment and a corporate culture that instills energy and enthusiasm. Take it from someone who considers himself to be one of the most naturally unapproachable executives, it is your responsibility as a leader to break the ice. You are in a position of the highest authority in a company and that alone creates a certain level of intimidation and a wall that might discourage communication. It is not up to those on the other side of the wall to take it down. You, as the leader, must remove it brick by brick. That includes paying close attention to body language and non-verbal cues coming both from you and the employees you lead.
Approachability is the Key
So, think about it. Do you typically know what’s going on in your organization down to a detailed level? Do people come to you even in uncomfortable situations? Do others appear at ease when you work with them and do they feel free to express their ideas? Do you get the level of answers you were seeking? Your approachability is key to making all of these things possible and driving your organization forward!