Be More Accessible in 3 Simple Steps

I briefly touched on what can be done to avoid employee / manager conflicts just under three years ago (wow!), but I was thinking more about the idea of accessibility of managers and supervisors today and thought it was worth a follow up post.

I’ve always tried to be very accessible as a manager. I respond to emails quickly and consistently, keep my door open, and try to be as available as possible to talk to employees and customers whenever they have comments, concerns, or questions. I’m by no means a perfect manager, but I do feel that being acessible and available is an important thing for a manager, especially one who works in the customer service field.

Here are three simple things you can do to be more accessible:

  1. Have an open door policy. Physically keeping your door open can set a great example for your employees and your co-workers. I can’t stand “closed” office spaces with big doors and no interior windows and have always made it a point to keep my office door open as often as humanly possible. It is sends a less than subtle signal that you’re willing to talk and that you’re accessible (just like having a closed door all the time sends a very different signal).
  2. Have “office hours.” The concept of office hours is common at colleges and universities, but kind of unheard of in business. Ideally, you don’t need office hours, but a lot of managers have crazy schedules filled with a plethora of meetings and other engagements that subsequently make it hard to get in touch with them. To deal with this, try to set an hour or two per day aside where you’re available to talk to employees who just want to walk in and express any questions or concerns they might have.
  3. Schedule “town halls.” I stole this idea and this terminology from politicians, but that’s only because it is a good idea. Every month or so, schedule an informal “town hall” with a group of employees who are  (for example) half randomly chosen and half specifically selected where you either come in with a topic or idea that you want to discuss or simply open the floor to general comments, suggestions, questions, etc. This is a great way to get to know your employees better and to make them feel as if they’re more involved with the company.

There are literally hundreds of books on the subject of manager accessibility and leadership styles, but I’ve always found that these three things have worked well for me. What has been effective where you work now or have worked in the past?

One Response to “Be More Accessible in 3 Simple Steps”

  1. Service Untitled» Blog Archive » Use Glass Doors to Improve Accessibility said:

    May 15, 09 at 12:10 pm

    […] my post on Wednesday, I touched on what I think is an important aspect of manager accessibility, a physically inviting […]