There are certain cringe-promoting phrases in our organizational lives, and, “I’ve got an open door policy” just gives me the heebie-jeebies. While I suspect some manager somewhere means good by it, I’ve watched too many managers misuse, abuse, and outright lie about their so-called open doors.
The royal tone of “you can enter my kingdom” aside, this thinking and approach are out-of-sync in a world that demands leaders narrow the power gap by seeking out teams and individuals on their terms and their turf.
There’s no longer room in this world for a passive, reactive approach symbolized by the, “I’ve got an open door policy” approach. Leave it to the era of Mad Men.
Get up out of your desk or office and go out and find a way to make yourself incredibly useful by supporting, observing, coaching, and finding ways to make the lives of your group members a bit easier. Flex to their communication needs, instead of assuming people should adjust to yours.
Your open-door policy is no longer enough.