How to be an Approachable Manager
- Date: Tuesday 22nd May 2018
- PDF: Download
A key attribute of a successful manager is a high level of approachability with their team. Approachability builds a foundation for open two-way communication that can promote employee engagement, motivation and retention. Approachability enables employees to come forward with an underlying issue for which they need support (such as a mental health issue), and when managed well, can positively impact on their productivity.
A manager should always be focused on helping their team achieve performance goals but alongside this comes the requirement to be a good listener and to show understanding.
What steps can you take to be an approachable manager?
1. Know your team and understand their individual strengths and weaknesses. Alter your approach for each employee and be aware of how each individual team member reacts differently to pressure.
2. Don’t rely on formal meetings to build a relationship with each colleague. Ensure you have “light touch” moments where you check in each day with an employee so you become approachable in day to day situations. Aim for a balance of casual meetings and more formal 1-2-1s.
3. Consider occasional walking meetings where you suggest having a walking catch up with an employee. You can walk around the site, the office or local area to generate a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Furthermore, the physical nature of a walk contributes to a sense of wellbeing and reduces the risk of depression.
4. After a 1-2-1 discussion your credibility and the trust of the employee is dependent on you following up on the agreed actions. Unless you deal with each action and provide progress updates in a timely manner your team are less likely to be open with you in future.
5. Remember that you are not expected to be an expert and certainly not a trained counsellor. Listening and empathy are vital but do not give out incorrect advice. If you don’t know the answer or are unsure what to advise then agree with the employee that you will share the matter with a more appropriate person.