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Chris' Comment: Should we be embracing an open door policy? I’m not convinced it’s the right way to go in practice. I’m theory, yes, it is good and is intended to say ‘I’m here for you, I’m approachable’. In practice, if it isn’t combined with a ‘come to me with solutions’ policy it can mean the person whose door is open is going to be disturbed the most!

When I work with leaders and business owners I encourage them to take an approach to openness that is more encompassing than just ‘open door’. That means having an open ear policy and really listening to what your people are saying, because doing so means you can hear and learn from them. It means having an open eyes policy and managing by ‘walking around’, seeing what is going on and looking for ways to congratulate people. It is what The One Minute Manager’s Ken Blanchard calls ‘looking for ways to praise rather than correct’.

I encourage leaders to have an open heart policy, to trust people to do the right thing. Sometimes, that can bite us, but here’s what I know: people flourish when given the right environment. Set the rules of the game, have the systems and processes defined to guide them and then give them responsibility and authority to act. Creating space to innovate and to learn empowers the best organisations. Leaders who encourage 100% participation build winning teams and winning organisations.

Your openness to your teams means they can be open to you. Your intentionality sets the tone. 

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What's your approach to Openness?

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