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Being approachable is a constructive and beneficial characteristic of anyone in a leadership role.
A production manager at one of my clients had a pretty tough, almost mean expression on his face – that was his default expression. I knew from talking to him that he was actually a good guy but that facial expression would instil fear right off the bat. Because he looked unapproachable, his production people would avoid him. I suggested that he smile more which made him more inviting to talk to.
If managers have that “don’t talk to me expression” then people will hide problems and mistakes – of course this only makes the manager more angry causing them to lash out and lose composure.
The same thing can apply to parents – if you create the demeanour that causes your kids to not want to talk to you – then they probably won’t and you won’t know what’s going on in their lives.
One of the best things to become more approachable is to smile more and use all three levels of communication. Cliche communication – How’s it going, How are you, How was your weekend. Head level communication – looking at the facts and heart level communication – showing empathy – you look frustrated, that must have been difficult.
By focusing on being an approachable leader you will keep the channels of communication open with your team.
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