Have you ever thought this, “I love my job but all the people I have to deal with, or if it wasn’t for all these people I have to work with, I’d get some work done around here.” I interact with so many successful introverts and type A extroverts who feel being approachable or having social interaction is a waste of company time. However, if a leader doesn’t make an effort to connect with the team on a social level or is approachable there can be significant detriments to your team’s effectiveness.
Why Being an Approachable, Social Leader is Important:
Problems with Not Being Approachable
There are many behavioral or leadership implications for someone who’s not an approachable person. You could be seen as someone as aloof or arrogant in the fact that you won’t be seen as someone who doesn’t listen to other’s concerns. You will have serious trouble developing your social networks, which are needed in developing your career; in addition people will be untrusting of you if they feel you’re hard to read. Also, the most important problem you’ll encounter is the trouble you’ll have working as part of a team.
How to be More Approachable and a Social Leader
There are a number of things you can do to create healthy interaction among your team
Be an Active Listener ~ When listening provide visual cues, by nodding your head, making eye contact, and sitting up straight. Also ask questions that will confirm to the speaker that you were listening.
Increase your Interactions ~ It’s so easy to get caught up in just emailing people, but make an attempt to talk to them. The next time you’re tempted to send that email to the person who works around the corner from you, get up and go talk to them. Or, pick up the phone and call. Keep your door open. In addition, have coffee or lunch with at least one person a month just to network, inside or outside of work. Also, have regular one-on-ones and or team meetings. In your one-on-ones, build in a little time up front for casual conversation. It helps to break the ice and build rapport. In addition to these regular, planned interactions, schedule informal lunch hours and an occasional off-site meeting.
Personal Disclosure ~ Share more about yourself. I’m not talking about sharing your thoughts around your latest theory on leadership – I mean personal information. Doing so helps build trust and relationships – it’s a bonding ritual. Caution – don’t overdo it initially – you’ll freak people out. Start with sharing some vacation pictures, or a story about your kids, or your dog, etc… Work your way up to it, and people will then start sharing information in return.
Improve your Presentation Skills ~ Presentation skills are a learned skill – we can all get better with instruction and hard work. If we become a more dynamic presenter or speaker it will enable us to connect with people on multiple levels.
Smile ~ For many of us this is a learned behavior. We don’t realize the negative effect we have on people sometimes, but once you start smiling at people you’ll see amazing results. No, you don’t have to have to be wearing a dumb grin all the time – just do it when you greet someone or pass them in the hallway.
Being approachable can have a major impact on team work effectiveness…
It’s imperative that we make a concerted effort to connect with our team, this really starts with being approachable and being the social leader for our departments.