I had a conversation with a colleague recently and we were discussing leadership styles. More specifically, I was sharing what I thought was one of the most important aspects of my journey….making myself accessible.
What does that mean?
As she and I talked I was reminded of an early moment in my career when I was hired to fill a human resources management role that was a backfill due to the promotion of the previous leader to VP. I was going to be his direct report, and he was going to mentor me.
One of his approaches was to attend health system leadership meetings and return to update his team…but with a redacted version of the updates.
I didn’t quite understand why we would hold back general information from our team, so I decided to share everything (except for anything that was expressly identified as confidential.) The team (his former team) loved it. They felt more connected, understood more fully why decisions were made, and had a real sense of where the organization was headed.
A valuable lesson for me early on.
Another approach that has served me well…far more than I ever could have imagined, is rounding. This is certainly not new, yet there’s a reason it has stood the test of time and not become cliche…
Getting out of your office (physical or virtual) and intentionally connecting with the team is powerful. Ask questions about their work, their family, their stress, their hobbies, their self-care ideas and strategies.
Engagement means a hell of a lot more than good scores on a survey. Engagement means that you make yourself accessible and human. Engagement means you demonstrate that your team members mean more than productivity metrics and revenue.
Delivering these messages in a kind way will accelerate you past the stigma of ‘corporate check-ins’ or ‘a leadership drive-by.’ Building kindness into your approach means that you actually believe the leadership hype you’re talking about all the time.
How do you make yourself accessible? There are many more ways to go about it…and I’d love to hear yours.
Thanks for being here.