In leadership, every leader has their own path to success. Some leaders are able to inspire and encourage, while others provide guidance and reassurance. There is a wide range of leadership styles, but even the most specific style tends to rely on a few key methods for success. Being an approachable leader is one of the most beneficial decisions that you can make. In this article, we will discuss how to be a more approachable leader for the benefit of your employees.
5 Top Tips on How to be a More Approachable Leader
No.1 – Listen to Your Employees
Employees that are not heard feel it, and it will absolutely impact how they feel in the workplace. In fact, a leader that doesn’t listen to their employees won’t be approachable at all. No employee wants to share their opinions with someone who never hears them. Unfortunately, many leaders fall into this trap, even without realising it.
Active listening is an age-old secret in leadership, but good listening goes beyond how you listen in the moment (check out this great article on Active Listening from SkillsYouNeed). A leader that listens to their employees will not just hear them and then forget what they said. What you learned should exist beyond when leaving the room. True leaders listen to their employees and consider what they have to offer when making decisions. A leader that shows it listens to the ideas of their employees will promote future idea-sharing and will be considered more approachable for this reason.
No.2 – Encourage Employees to Speak Up
When you encourage your employees to speak up, you automatically make yourself more approachable as a leader. Whilst listening to your employees when they speak up is important, encouraging them to speak up at all can be even more beneficial. This change will not only promote more idea-sharing in the workplace. It will also help them to feel more comfortable in their role in a team.
Good leaders know that every employee has valuable ideas. More importantly, they know how to encourage employees to share those valuable ideas for the benefit of everyone. Encourage your employees to speak up with the right methods. Openly request idea-sharing, offer incentives for speaking up, and directly ask employees for their opinions. A little encouragement can make you more approachable as a leader and open the creativity floodgates!
No. 3 – Implement Employee Ideas
Follow-through is a very important trait in leadership. Implementing employee ideas is the kind of follow-through that will encourage your employees to come to you with ideas. No one wants to share an idea and watch it be completely overlooked. When employees see you implementing their ideas, it will encourage them to come to you with more. It shows that they are considered valuable on the team—and this can really make them want to share more.
When you implement employee ideas, you change the way that employees see their role in a team. It shows that you value their opinions and believe that they deserve to be heard. Others will also follow suit and feel more comfortable speaking up instead of just assuming that they will be ignored.
via Microsoft Teams
via Web Interface
No. 4 – Keep an Open-Door Policy
The best way to present yourself as an approachable leader and remain so is with an open-door policy. Your employees should always know that they can swing by any time to talk or problem solve. If they can never seem to reach you, they will always feel unimportant. Not only will this discourage them from approaching you, but it will also make them feel ignored.
No. 5 – Allow Employees to Find Their Own Solutions
Sometimes when an employee wants to discuss a problem or share their ideas, they don’t want you to handle it. It is easy for leaders to look to an employee with a problem and assume that it is an escalation. This makes several leaders make the mistake of taking on a problem that the employee wanted to solve themselves.
If employees know that they can’t share something without handing it off, you will automatically be less approachable as a leader. Sometimes employees just need to talk things through. They might respect you enough to find your insights valuable, but they oftentimes want to solve the problem themselves. When an employee approaches you, ask if they want your help, your opinion, or just someone to listen. It will help employees feel more in control and will make them more comfortable with approaching you when brainstorming solutions.
Being an approachable leader can yield a wide range of positive results. It will make your employees feel more comfortable about being open and honest with you—and so much more! Find ways to meet your employees on their level and encourage them to interact with you. Whether they need your help or know something that might help you, listen. It is important to ensure that they know they can come to you for it. You can help your employees to think more critically, share their ideas, and feel better at work with any of these approaches!