Open The Door To Important Conversations

Good intentions motivate positive actions. We aim to be healthier, become better people, improve at our jobs. But limitations, busy schedules and events beyond our control could lead something started with good intentions to fail.

We’ve all heard of open-door policies. Most leaders want to support their teams and share ideas. However, an Australia-wide survey found around 70,000 people a year report some form of workplace grievance. So, good intentions are apparently not enough.

That’s why you should invest in a sound open-door policy. Open communication nurtures employee engagement and shows concern for your team’s wellbeing at work. Managers are in a vital position to provide a much-needed helping hand in dealing with wellbeing problems, whether physical or mental. A winning move since employee engagement and good workplace wellbeing both contribute significantly to business results.

But, how can you create a genuinely caring open-door policy? These three simple solutions can help.

Challenge: People don’t come to me even if my door is open.

Suggestion: Take your open-door on tour.

The founders of HP were well known for this. Genuine care for your people should move you to go to them, not wait for them to come to you. Some might be intimidated to speak up or perhaps be too busy for a chat. So, schedule in time to roam the office to talk.

It need not be aimless chit-chat. You can ask about issues, gather new ideas or seek feedback on initiatives. In fact, with 13 September being R U OK? Day, it’s the perfect opportunity to reach out and find out how your team members are feeling.

Challenge: My team and I often aren’t in the same geographic location.

Suggestion: Open digital doors.

We get it. Busy leaders often move from location to location to get the job done. But technology has allowed us to shrink our worlds and bring people within a click away from us.

So, why not put your digital channels to good use? Encourage a team group chat or invite team members to connect with you via professional social networks. Show concern by sending a thoughtful text message to someone who’s off sick or one who might not seem like their usual self at work.

Challenge: I can’t afford to be continuously interrupted when I’m working.

Suggestion: Create an open-door schedule.

Of course, you shouldn’t sacrifice productivity. The fact is, being distracted continuously affects not only productivity but also increases stress and fatigue. Not great for your wellbeing.

Instead of an ‘always open-door’, try a ‘scheduled open-door’. There are two advantages to this. First, you regulate when you have conversations to be in the best state of mind to listen. Second, your team members will have time to gather their thoughts before having a chat. That means fewer brain-dumps and more meaningful conversations.

Your open door policy needn’t be just a good intention. Turn into something that starts real conversations. Then, enjoy the benefits of an engaged, well and productive team!