We all know that approachability is good for business. It’s good for the employees and it is good for the company, and yet, some employers fail to see the importance of this approach and are unaware of the problems that are brewing right under their noses. ;
Creating a comfortable work environment, where people can voice their opinions without being belittled or made fun off, makes for happy employees. And happy employees are more productive and efficient workers. In her book “Work Happy: What Great Bosses know”, Jill Geisler says she found common traits among happy employees:
1. They have a supervisor who cares.
2. They receive feedback about their work and sincere and specific praise.
3. They work in a workplace that is supportive and fair.
In other words; approachability and open communication lines are present in their work culture. Remember the phrase “You get more with honey than with vinegar”? On the other hand, from the management point of view, knowing what is going on with the employees can be best learned in the trenches among them. Sentiments, feelings and problems that are brewing can all be avoided if the manager is approachable. Some great ideas come from unexpected sources and being able to discuss them openly can benefit the company as a whole.
How does an approachable manager behave? Here are a few guidelines:
1. When getting ideas from others in their team they acknowledge them. It doesn’t have to be long, but an acknowledgment will only encourage people to perform better. Humans strive, to various degrees, on reassurance and compliments.
2. When rejecting an idea, the approachable manager takes a minute to explain why it is rejected and provides constructive criticism for future improvement.
3. Really listens and engages employees. Doesn’t engage in other activities while others are talking. It’s mostly a sign of respect, as if saying “you are important enough for me to take time to listen to you.”
4. Makes an extra effort with people that are known to be sensitive. Crushing their souls will not get you better work.
5. An approachable manager knows the people he works with. Knows their names and remembers details about their lives.
6. An approachable manager would shares a bit about themselves.
7. If the employees are treated badly, the employees will look for ways to hurt the manager or the company. That is the only way a disgruntled employee can get back at his former boss. By then the damage will be higher.
Being personable and professional means not excluding others, rather they complement one another to make an approachable manager. Employees bring ideas and solutions to an approachable leader and are ready to go the extra mile, something that might solve an important problem the manager has. The cost of inapproachability might be high, yet it is avoidable.
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