Never underestimate how important being approachable is to the work that needs to be done in your organization. When you are approachable, people can connect and relate to you. They understand what is needed for success and are willing to roll up their sleeves to get the work done. When others feel that you are open to hearing what they have to say, they will keep you apprised of the things you need to know.
Being approachable doesn’t mean that you have to stop what you’re doing whenever someone needs your attention. It does mean that when you give your attention, you give it fully. Here is what it looks like when you are approachable. You are:
Open to hearing about new and different ways of doing things. You know that the more minds and hearts that are supporting success, the better. You are willing to consider possibilities you hadn’t thought of before no matter who suggests them. You are open to criticism and able to take it in and consider the truth in what you hear.
Inclusive of all those who have a “stake” in the success of your organization. You make sure that everyone, even the “quiet ones” are heard and listened to when big decisions that involve them will be made. You don’t hesitate to approach people that you may not work with every day to get their input into your leadership and the direction of your organization.
A listener who listens carefully, quietly, and without judgement to try to understand others’ viewpoints even when there are signification differences from your own. You know that the understanding you gain from listening deeply helps them, and it helps you to see points of view that are new and sometimes key to your success.
Patient with others who may not get up to speed as quickly as you like. You know that you may have a role to play in helping them to understand the direction to take in the work they do, and you remain patient while they learn. You are willing to give others some time to get to where they need to be, while gently guiding them to get there.
Present without distractions when others approach you. You physically turn to face them, look them in the eye, and stay focused on what they have to say. When you feel distracted by something, you recognize the negative impact that may have on your relationship, and you return to focusing on them. Your full attention, when needed, is freely given.
Thankful that you have others to support you and to give you information you may not like hearing, but needs to be heard. You let them know when that you are grateful for any information they provide that might impact you, how you lead, and the success of your organization. When you thank them, you say it with meaning and heart.
Leaders who are approachable get things done because they create the kind of relationships that support them and the organizations they lead.