Communication TipsConsulting Best Practices

Is the Door Really Always Open?

With all the motivational posters and positive statements you see plastered across office walls these days, you know that “open door” cultures are on the rise. But sometimes the theory of that open door policy does not mesh with reality. Brian Ray writes for Consulting about what can be done when communication gets muzzled.

Door’s Open, but the Force Field’s Up

Managers can be unapproachable for a few reasons, like their egos keeping you at arm’s length, a lack of empathy, or even just them not realizing they are unavailable. In any case, the first thing that must be done is confront the manager about the lack of availability. This is because if leadership cannot even see that their actions do not align with alleged open door policies, then there is no way the situation will improve without you taking direct action.

A few things can happen when managers are allowed to become insulated. Employee performance can suffer as a result of lack of insight or resolution from the manager on issues. Employees might even be afraid to bring problems to the management’s attention. Too much stress, fear, or both can lead to good employees quitting, which is the last thing a business needs. Ray writes:

There is the old saying that “actions have consequences”, but this statement needs to be modernized to include that – “lack of action” – also has consequences.

Meaning that Corporate leadership needs to realize that they must back up their words and policies with deeds – actually “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk” as the sayings go. Any attempt to correct a situation like this must include honest input from employees as to why they feel the Manager(s) in question are unapproachable.

Employees and upper management need to meet in the middle to ensure that middle management is really providing the support that is required. You can read the original article here:

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