“A man who is at the top is a man who has the habit of getting to the bottom.”
— Joseph E. Rogers
The stereotypical leader is one who is locked away in their corner office on the top floor of a tall building looking over the city skyline. This stereotypical leader is in his own world and no one can be a part of that world with him. It’s just him and his wonderful thoughts of grandeur. However appealing this fantasy may seem, it is not practical and it is not reality. The leader cannot be far removed from the “subordinates.”
There’s nothing more frustrating than an emotionally unbalanced leader. One where everything would be fine one moment and then the next moment everything was disastrous. These kinds of leaders are not approachable, and if this is your leadership style, I highly recommend changing it. Your people will be too afraid to approach you when even the slightest issue emerges because you may snap at any moment because of the smallest incident.
I had a boss like this once. I never knew what kind of mood they were going to be in, so I felt that I always had to walk on eggshells. If something was going wrong, instead of bringing it up and feeling like I was able to bring it up, I would hold back the information until there was no way I could fix it or hide it any longer. This wreaked havoc on my place of employment, and I take responsibility for that because I shouldn’t have cared what kind of mood my boss was in. I try my best to be approachable because of this, but I fail on occasion; I used to be awful at it.
Emotional unbalance isn’t the only way a leader may be unapproachable. The leader may simply seem uninterested or unfriendly. Leaders, do your best to fix your demeanor; care for your people, and remind your face that you love them. Encourage your people, too (I’ll be writing about this next week). “Subordinates,” do your best to not let perceived unfriendliness or disinterestedness stop you from doing your job and reporting problems – your organization will be better off because of it.
Your approachability is important. If people cannot come to you openly, then there will be information that isn’t passed to you that could be detrimental to your organization. Open-door policies are not enough if you as a person are not approachable enough or if you are easily bothered. When asked why someone didn’t report something to you because you have an open-door policy, you don’t want to hear, “I just didn’t want to bother the boss.”