There are plenty of important traits that great leaders need to master and, often, many of these traits might be specific to the industry and to the team. One thing’s for sure, however. A great leader needs to be trusted by their team and, in particular, must be able to be trusted to be there when the team needs them. In a word, a great leader needs to be accessible.
Accessibility is a crucial part in building both trust and a cohesive team, and that trust is vitally important to creating a healthy and engaging workplace culture and environment. Accessibility means more than just announcing an open-door policy, however. It means having the time and capacity to address specific worker concerns, it means being around when you’re needed, and it certainly means showing your team that they are right to trust you—but this all might be easier said than done. Leading a business is certainly tough and busy work, so how can you make yourself more accessible?
Running a growing and successful business can mean wearing a lot of hats, but doing too much can spread you too thin. At the end of the day, if you’re going to be a leader, you better have time to lead. This means that step one of becoming more accessible is ensuring that you’re available. Learn how to keep a tight and well-balanced schedule. As a leader, you ultimately need time to serve and mentor your team members, which you cannot do if your schedule constantly has you doing other things. In the same vein, if you have too much on your plate, it’s important to remember that you have a team for a reason. Passing some responsibilities to other team members can be a smart choice in making sure you have more capacity to be directly accessible, as well as making sure that an overload of work isn’t resulting in sub-par quality.
Now that you’ve cleared up your schedule a bit, you have time to actually listen to your team, and this happens on at least two different levels. As with the open-door idea, you can set up times to have direct meetings with team members, either one-on-one or whatever makes sense for the situation. This shows your team that you’re taking an interest in their perspectives, and also gives you direct insight into what people are thinking and what needs to be done from a leadership standpoint. The second level of listening happens outside of these important meetings. For one reason or another, your team probably won’t tell you everything on their mind directly, so identifying the points that haven’t been brought up can be a really special way of showing that your interest in the workplace environment is both sincere and active. Speaking of active…
Act & Be Proactive
Listening is fundamental to being a good leader, and it’s crucial for becoming a more accessible leader, but only if it happens alongside another thing: action. Being an accessible leader means not only that team members feel like they can approach you, but also that approaching you would be helpful at all. An open-door policy and one-on-one meetings can’t really mean too much if you don’t do anything with that information you’ve obtained.
The first two points are an important setup, but action is how you truly communicate accessibility. If there are multiple complaints about something in the workplace, do something about it! By acting on the trust that team members placed in you when communicating their needs, you communicate to them that their voice matters, and that they can come to you to be heard. Do you think your team is being heard? Are you looking to be more accessible? Revisit the first point and start by getting organized!
Living Pono is dedicated to communicating business management concepts with Hawaiian values. Founded by Kevin May, an established and successful leader and mentor, Living Pono is your destination to learn about how to live your life righteously and how that can have positive effects in your career. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or contact us here. Also, join our mailing list below, so you can be alerted when a new article is released.
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