Monday, July 06, 2009

Do You Recognize These Five Early Warning Signs of an Unapproachable Leader?

FACT #1: The only judgment your people can (honestly) make about you is how interacting with you makes them FEEL.

FACT #2: If you’re not perceived and remembered as being approachable by the people you serve – I guarantee your organization WILL suffer.

As such, there's a myriad of impending dangers of inapproachability. We’ll be exploring each of them in this three-part series, along with a collection of practical strategies to circumvent those dangers.

Each post will address one of the following categories:

PART 1: How people feel about approaching you.
PART 2: How people feel while interacting with you.
PART 3: How people feel walking away from you.

Today, let’s talk about how people feel about approaching the unapproachable...

1. People will plan ways to avoid you. Which, ironically, takes more time and energy than to actually talk to you. But that’s how we’re wired: Anthropologically, the more conflict that might occur = the more we avoid that encounter.

Even if it requires more work. Anything to avoid conflict. How many people went out of their way to avoid you yesterday?

STRATEGY: For one week, say hello to every single person that crosses your path. It’s harder than you think.

2. People will shrink from opportunities to be open. If you’re the kind of person who takes offense to everything, here’s what happens: People will start tiptoeing around you, trying their hardest not to get caught in your vortex of hypersensitivity.

Then, they purposely leave out key points just to avoid pushing your hot buttons. And all that does is leave you in the dark on where they stand. How many employee problems are you currently unaware of because your emotional reactivity silences people?

STRATEGY: Grow thicker skin. Instead of reacting; trying breathing. That’s
response. A choice. And it’s much more effective. If there’s one thing I learned from practicing yoga, it’s that you can breathe through pretty much anything.

3. People will be surprised by each your arguments and concerns. Because you weren’t proactive enough to share your expectations clearly and early. Or because you didn’t speak with Meaningful Concrete Immediacy.

Or because you shaded the truth. The problem is, when people become accustomed to living in the dark, it surprises the hell out of them when the lights suddenly flicker on. Because then they have no idea what to do about key issues. Are your expectations camouflaged?

STRATEGY: Make your instructions, expectations, emails, phone calls, meetings and conversations more actionable.

4. People will stop volunteering information. Because they won’t feel like it’s is a safe container in which they can share. Which means they’ll either bury their problems deep down inside their bodies (which causes physical stress).

Or take their problems to someone else (who probably has no idea what the hell she’s talking about). How are you creating a Question Friendly Environment?

STRATEGY: Burn your Suggestion Box. Hang up a Question Box. Keep it
anonymous. Then, for every question that’s submitted, donate one dollar to the Office Party Budget. That way, more questions = more snacks.

5. People will become apprehensive due to your unpredictability. If people never know what’s on your mind, the silent dialogue will become, “For all I know, could be a ticking time bomb this morning! Better not say anything deep or lengthy.”

Again, this leads to disengaged, low-involvement conversations with minimal self-disclosure. And because nobody knows what you’re thinking, they (might) end up doing the exact opposite of what you wanted.

And it will be YOUR fault because, contrary to your hopes and dreams, they were unable to read your mind. What are you doing that prevents people from learning from you?

STRATEGY: Learn how to become (somewhat) predictable.

- - -

REMEMBER: The only judgment your people can (honestly) make about you is how interacting with you makes them FEEL.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if YOU think you’re approachable – it only matters if you’re perceived and remembered as being approachable by the people you serve.

If not, I guarantee your organization WILL suffer.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How is being unapproachable hurting your organization?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "7 Ways to Radically Raise Receptivity of Those You Serve," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!