Approachable is Mandatory

Bob (a fictional character) has been the head of accounting for many years and has several employee’s working for him. While Bob really enjoys crunching the numbers and making sure that every penny has its place, he knows that he isn’t good at relationships, but figures that the “real” business is all about the numbers. Whenever an employee approaches him with a problem or a misunderstanding he waves them off, saying they should know how to fix it, or worse, he talks down them as if he was a school teacher reprimanding a child.

I am sure most of us have seen this type of manager in one form or another, but the negative results of such management can be costly to any organization. A manager like Bob can cause more than hurt feelings. This management style can cause a drop in production, high turn-over, costly mistakes, and negative morale. When an employee lacks the support and encouragement that all of us instinctively need, they will often hide mistakes to avoid retaliation, look for a way out of the organization (or department), or simply stop working to the best of their ability.

A manager’s real job is to encourage and support employees in doing their job correctly. Unfortunately, all too often managers are promoted because they are good at what they do without any thought to training the new manager and working on their interpersonal skills. In addition, many organizations not only mandate management duties onto their supervisors, they also demand some kind of production goals. This leaves many managers defaulting to what they know best, production, rather than building strong professional relationships with their team.

Taking on a managerial role is certainly not for the faint of heart. Every manager should strive to build professional relationships with their employees. To accomplish this, they must become active students on relationship building, conflict resolution, active listening, and effective communication. These traits don’t come naturally to most people and are often some life-long learning opportunities.

Take the next week to objectively observe how you interact with your employees. Even those without employees, you can still learn the art of professional relationships and become more approachable.