When you say that your door is “always open”, make sure that your actions are also in agreement with those spoken words. As a leader, employees will look at you in times of crises, and they need to know that you are the person that they could count on. In order to gain your employees’ trust and respect, it’s important to be available for your people when they need you. Here are three things that I would recommend to organizational leaders:
1. Answer emails in a timely manner.
I’ve had to deal with leaders who take almost a week to email me back when I had a simple question for them, or ones that just do not email back at all. As you can see, this can become extremely frustrating, especially when your position requires you to maintain close communication with the person. To me (and I’m sure I speak for a lot of people), the impression that I get is that my questions are not important enough to be answered in a timely manner. I believe that emails should always be answered within 24 hours, barring special circumstances. If it takes longer to reply, make sure there is a good reason for it.
2. Come to meetings on time.
When you are meeting with your personnel, it’s especially important to show up on time. As an organizational leader, you might have what seems like a million things going on at the same time, and your time can be very valuable. However, it’s important to understand that other employees in the organization may be just as busy. By showing up to a meeting 30 minutes to an hour late, or not even showing up at all (yes, this happened to me too), it gives people the “my time is more valuable than yours” impression. If you are going to be late to a meeting, or need to postpone a meeting, make sure to let your personnel know ahead of time.
3. Come to meetings prepared.
When someone I’m meeting with comes unprepared, I feel like we just shouldn’t have met at all. It’s a waste of time and leaves me with a bad impression of the person, especially if it is a person that I’m supposed to report to. It’s not as different as them saying “I don’t care about your concerns”. As a manager and a leader, this is not the type of message you want to give to your employees. If you didn’t have time to adequately prepare for the meeting, just postpone it until when you do have time to prepare. It’s better to have that than an unproductive one.
A large part of organizational leadership is being available your personnel. Make it a goal to do these things consistently, and your employees will appreciate you so much more.
Please feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below.