The Best Way to Become an Approachable Leader 


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Being an effective leader means putting others at ease, because when people feel comfortable they perform at their best. That means building a rapport, listening, sharing, and understanding others—in short, being accessible and approachable. Here are some techniques that can help you become a more approachable leader:

Initiate. As the leader, being approachable has to start with you. You have to put out your hand first, you have to make eye contact first, you have to ask the questions first. You have to make the first move so people feel comfortable with you.

Do some drive-bys. To build the connections that allow people to think of you as approachable, take time every day to stop at a desk or two and check in to see how the person is doing. Ask about their family or pets or interests. The whole idea is not to talk about work but to show that you care about them as a person.

Give people your full attention. Being available with your full attention demonstrates that you’re involved and interested in those around you, making it easier for them to come to you—both in good times and when problems arise. Don’t try to multitask when a person is standing in front of you. Show them that they have your complete attention, whether they’re telling you about their weekend or explaining a serious work-related issue.

Share information. Approachable leaders share information—and they get more information in return, along with loyalty and trust. When leaders confide in their team and invite others to respond in turn, they gain important insights. People feel valued and truly part of a team, and they respond with engagement and energy.

Become a good listener. Approachable leaders are good listeners. They listen without interrupting, they ask clarifying questions and they don’t judge instantly. They listen to understand. Then they restate what is being said to show they hear and understand, with questions to fill in any gaps. They don’t necessarily offer advice or try to fix situations that don’t require their involvement. Their focus is on hearing, understanding and connecting.

Give your time. You never want to come across as a leader who doesn’t have the time for their people. At work and in life, make sure every day you make time for the people and things that are most important to you. Even if you’re the busiest person in the world, order your days so those around you know that you will always have time for them.

There will always be some degree of separation between the leader, boss or manager and those who work for them. But making honest everyday efforts to bridge that divide will help you earn a reputation as a great leader.

Lead from within: People are most likely to resonate with a leader who feels like someone at their level but with the power to make their jobs easier and more successful.

 


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