February 18, 2010

People Management – Having An Open/Closed Door Policy

It’s important to be accessible to your people. Being available means that you have the opportunities to bond and be willing to create excellent relationships. And there’s a time to stop as well…

We are sociable animals.

As managers, there is nothing in us that makes us different from the rest of humanity. We like interaction with others and this adds value to the relationships we have, which, in turn, makes us good to have around.

Here’s the rub – we need to be involved with people to make the most of the relationships we need as managers, yet we also need to be able to draw the line as well.

It’s a huge benefit to your relationship building activities to be approachable and available for any of your people who want to drop by. Yet this can be very disruptive when you want to focus on work that you need to do.

Sometimes, you need to close the door on your office and get things done, without being unapproachable. This can seem like quite a paradox, yet it isn’t at all.

By simply having a rule that says, ‘When the door is closed, I’m busy’, you create a message that people understand and will prevent you seeming to be unavailable.

Because, when your door is open, you show you are keen to keep in touch and be there for them as well.

It’s a simple way to set boundaries that your people will ‘get’ when you explain it to them, whilst still retaining the availability that is so vital when you need to be close to them too.

At first your people might find it strange if it has not been your normal practice up to now and, well, they’ll get used to it once you apply it and explain why.

In fact, it might well be a tactic that others adopt, which you will need to honor yourself for them.

Here’s how to make this work for you in the most positive way, whilst setting those boundaries that are all important too.

Just make it clear to all of your people that an open door means you are available and a closed door means that you are only to be disturbed when there’s a fire!

You can apply this to calls and e-mails and virtual contacts as well.

By creating spaces – the right spaces – for your people, they get your attention when you aren’t distracted by the things you have to do and they also learn that there are times when, you know, it’s OK to create space for yourself.

In their own ways of working, they start to integrate this as a discipline for themselves as well.

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Management Basics, Managing Me by Martin

Permalink Print