Recently, a friend of mine relayed an experience of his on ‘Open Door Policy’ with senior management people. While the experience conveyed was no way an encouraging or inspiring one, it prompted me to think about how exactly to make the ‘Open Door Policy – ODP’ work?!
Well, to start with – ODP does not work just if the doors to managers’ cabin has no latch!! No kidding, I have heard people say that they have no latches on their doors to convey ODP.
But everyone would agree that ODP is not about keeping the physical door open, but keeping yourself open. This article represents my suggestions on ODP and how it can work better. All of the suggestions are from my own experience of managing a team of 30+ engineers.
Here is my list:
Constantly Reachout – Reaching out is more than saying ‘My door is open for you anytime’. It is about letting them know all the time that they can feel at ease with you.
Walk up to them – Open Door policy means its a two way street. Just as you as a manager want people to just walk in with problems and freely discuss with you, you should make it a point to have one on one relationship with all your team members. Walk up with any set agenda and talk to them. Make it a point to do this regularly.
Compliments Help – whenever there is something that catches your attention in a positive or good way, make it a point to convey it to the concerned party openly. You do not have to follow any rules of engagement like a letter or email. Just tell them then and there. Better still if the compliment is not related to work .
Share Stories – No, this is not about sharing stores of success but sharing stories of lessons learnt that have help you when you were not a manager.
Be Frank – Just be as open as possible. If you are annoyed with someone, just tell them one on one and also tell them the reason behind it. Tell them why it may not help to be that way.