Last week I crowd-sourced ideas for my post Approachable Leadership—Be a Beacon, Not an Island. The comments kept flowing in, long after I’d wrapped up writing. My friends and colleagues are an amazing source of wisdom. Here is a summary of their comments (used with permission.)
The question was simple:
What makes a leader “approachable”?
Here’s what they said.
Readily approachable – genuine and sincere character. Sustaining approachable – the relationship. Readily is more first impression or you’ve been primed for what to expect when based on what others say. Sustaining is after the initial interactions, once the relationship is established. Several factors can determine the comfort level or perceived approachability. What was at first perceived could change given time and experience of working together.
Sense of humor, humility, physical presence.
Good listening skills.
Warmth, competence and credibility.
A willingness to listen. A reputation for keeping confidences.
One who thinks before he/she reacts…
Positive energy. For me positive energy happens when the leader is present: eye contact, smiling, transparent with what is happening (good, bad, ugly), future-focused, empowering, recognizes and celebrates…
Non-judgmental. Tolerance for risk and mistakes.
Being present. Not just in his or her office, but also walking around engaging with employees showing genuine interest at all levels. I think being approachable starts with being willing to approach others first.
Honest, disciplined, good listener, open to others ideas, willing to mentor.
Join in! What do YOU think makes a leader approachable?
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