021 Open Door Policy

Today’s episode is about the open door policy and how effective it is…or isn’t! An open door policy is usually used as a behavioural institution in that every manager has their own office, and the door is open so that employees can approach him. At least, that is how it is supposed to work.

"The boss uses the open door policy as an excuse!"

In reality what ends up happening is: the boss sits in his office while things happen around him that he has no clue about! The boss uses the open door policy as an excuse. He sits in his castle on the hill and expects his team to approach him. This will never happen! This boss is the top of the food chain and nobody comes to this chamber of power without enormous physical and mental effort. No one wants to go into the boss’ territory.  Yes, we are in 2020 but people still have this concept of private space, which is why many people hate using public transport. Employees resist going to their managers’ office because they equate it with a terrible thing happening, especially when the door closes!

"As a manager you must be approachable!"

Having an open door policy is antiquated and my recommendation is to get out of your castle! Do your best to be around your people. Of course, from time to time as a manager you do need to talk in privacy, in which case you can book a meeting room. As a manager you must be approachable. If you want to do your work silently, then be open with your team. Tell them you do not want to be disturbed unless there is blood or flames! Being approachable doesn’t mean that you are open to any and all interruptions.

"The solution to a fortress is simple; keep the gate and the drawbridge open!"

On the other hand, if you park yourself in the office in the morning when you arrive and then stay there until you leave in the afternoon, this is not an open door policy! Let’s behave like educated and polite human beings. Take an hour or so in the morning to speak to your team and just say hello. These people are your tribe, not your slaves or your robots. Trust equals interaction over time! The solution to a fortress is simple; keep the gate and the drawbridge open.

Stay in lead!