The importance of approachability
“Approachable leadership builds bridges to relationships, communications, and ultimately–success.” -Skip Prichard
We’ve all had at least one of them: the unapproachable boss. For me, it wasn’t a direct manager, thank goodness, but a guy a couple of levels up. I had to be in those meetings, though—the ones where no matter how well you prepared, he’d find some reason to find a flaw in your work, or even actively insult you, where he’d storm in late with no excuse but demand to know why someone else wasn’t instantly prepared with an obscure fact, a guy who glared and stomped and rarely smiled, blustered, and shrugged and looked like he’d rather be anywhere else but talking to “his inferiors.”
In fact, I’m pretty sure I heard him refer to his staff as “his inferiors” at least once…
“Approachability and organizational performance are very closely linked.” – Tammi Spayde
That kind of person is the antithesis of the “servant leader.” They drive people away; they make real communication impossible; they make people afraid to be their true selves, and they can poison an entire culture from the top down.
“The tone for a culture of approachability is set at the front door.” – Skip Prichard
Be Appropriately Approachable
Obviously, you don’t want to be like that. But there’s a lot of space between being a complete jerk and being proactively approachable. In our last episode of “Aim Higher,” we talked about how to improve your approachability. In this roundtable talk with my panel of leadership experts, we talk about why doing so is important: the benefits to you, as a leader, and to your organization. It’s not about being a buddy to all your employees or having no personal boundaries. In fact, we talk about what it means to be “appropriately approachable” as a leader and why you need to do so in ways that respect the chain-of-command as well as your own ability to get work done.
“In an approachable culture, people can feel that it’s about coaching and working together.” – Lisa Beaty
But, in the end, we do come back to one important fact: approachability is about building bridges. And if you want to be a great leader and build bridges to success for yourself, your team, and your organization, you need to spend some time with us on this important topic.
“We spend so much time at work. Who wants to be around a bunch of jerks?” – Drew Bordas
Image Credit: Nathan Dumlao