How to handle the “open door” policy challenge at work

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The following is a challenge that was shared on a recent webinar I held. Whether you are currently in a leadership position or not, this applies to you and crucial to your success.  Please meet Darlene who shared the following:
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Darlene shared:  “As a director, my management team comes to me, but staff seem to feel intimidated to walk into my office even though I encourage them to take advantage of my “open door policy” for feedback.

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There is a key formula I introduced on the webinar and which I coach all my students on called E + R = O. And it will change your life.
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E  stands for all of the events happening in our life which we have no control over.
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R stands for our response to those events and
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O stands for the outcome or RESULT of our responses.
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What I’ve found for myself not just on the career front is that when I apply this equation, life works better.  2 + 2 must always equal 4. That’s a universal law. However if you don’t like 4 anymore then you have to do something new and different to get 16 for example. That new and different thing is usually where you need to be uncomfortable and stick your neck out a little. You see we all get stuck doing the same R everyday. We respond the same way over and over again, yet expect a different outcome. It doesn’t make sense, right? Einstein taught us well. 🙂
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So if you want to see a wild new outcome that’s 4x better than what you’ve seen so far, you have to try something new and different. By definition new and different, means being uncomfortable and no longer ignoring those yellow alerts. Now let’s get back to Darlene’s challenge. She has communicated her open door policy to her team, but no one is using it. Why?
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I’m sure Darlene was authentic when she announced it and truly wants to support her staff. What new response can Darlene make to change the outcome? In other words, how can Darlene put herself in her team’s shoes and ACT AS-IF she is responsible for the no-shows? Here’s what I suggest and have implemented when I led  a tech staff in Financial Services. I LEVERAGED the “POWER OF MANY”. There’s that word again I mentioned it often on the webinar as the thought leader you are: LEVERAGE.
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My guess is that while her team may want to walk in sometime to speak with Darlene, they are uncomfortable to do so. No one wants to be the first one on the dance floor right? Then what if someone does go in there, and they enjoy Darlene’s open door policy so much so, they want to go in there again? Hmmm, now there’s a new fear. There’s the stigma of teacher’s pet. No one wants to be tagged the favorite or worse potentially be perceived as the professional unable to think on their own even by their own manager. What if Darlene finds them incompetent? Eeek! Not true, but these limiting beliefs surface anyway.
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None of these perceptions are true, yet there are 3 fears which drive the decisions we make.  #1 Fear of failure. #2 Fear of looking foolish. #3 Fear of rejection. We have ALL been in those shoes. So here’s what I suggest Darlene do. She let her team know in her next staff meeting that she is holding DOCTOR’s hours. From 4 to 5pm, she would like her team to join her on Tuesdays and Thursdays to talk about any issues. So now she has put a stake in the ground and went further to set a time that’s FOCUSED on listening to any concerns and proactively addressing any risks to the team’s programs. No one will worry about bothering her, because she has dedicated this time slot two days a week.  I would even recommend she send an outlook invite on her calendar labeled “DARLENE”S DOOR” ” or something fun like that so it’s locked in, just in case anyone forgets. The other benefit of this approach is to protect Darlene’s time.  She can block her time out and avoid any drop-ins or unexpected meetings from overlapping on the time she  has set aside for her team. Protecting your time is so crucial, I created a whole module around it (Fierce Time Management) in the Gutsy Leadership coaching program, reach out to learn more here.
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Do you feel the energy around Darlene’s intention by taking this one action to create a powerful response and turnout?   Would you feel welcome to step into Darlene’s office from now on if you received that outlook invite?
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E + R = O
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I’ve applied this in my home as a parent, to my health, in my career, in difficult challenging relationships and so much more.
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What can you do right now in your shoes, to change your reaction to a mindful response instead? What can you do to take 100% responsibility to the events consistently happening right now and ACT AS-IF you are responsible for them? I know you’re not necessarily causing these events, but what if you were responsible? That’s when you come up with creative solutions to your life.
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To your gutsy freedom, you’ve got this.
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Ready to make a Gutsy Breakthrough in your career? Schedule a call, reach out at info@inrshoes.com and I’ll see if I can help. Learn more here.
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big hug coming your way,

 

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