The idea that a CEO, MD or Head of a department encouraging open conversation sounds noble, to see it played out is rare, why?
Unless the Leader exemplifies open conversation to create that safe space, having any open door policy is futile
An example of false open door communication that I experienced in my late teens
I was supermarket storeman in my late teens and always connected well with the store manager that hired me
I did my job well and the manager assisted me whenever I had problems with intimidating truck drivers trying to break store policy rules
If the store manager had any concerns with my work, he approached me anytime and we worked it out together
A perfect open door policy, he was approachable and I was teachable
When a new store manager took over, the rules of engagement changed
The new store manager was much younger and highly ambitious, his name was Mr Cross. Like name, like character
1. He always walked around fast paced with a sense of urgency
2. He never stopped to have a chat
3. Everything was official, appointments were mandatory
4. He was impersonal and intimidating
He summons me to his office to reprimand me about the way I worked. He had other department heads sit with him while he tried to humiliate me about my work ethic.
Instantly I became defensive about my work ethic and completely disrespected him and the other managers for not coming to my defence.
This was my first experience of corporate bullying in the name of open door policy. Needless to say I didn’t last much longer in that job.
Thirty years later I got into a conversation about Mr Cross with a former colleague of his. Apparently this store manager rose to one of the top positions in the company doing exactly what he did to me all the way to the top.
Corporate Social Responsibility has to be more than a written policy that masquerades as transparency within large corporations
Leaders in high positions have no idea the effect they have by their lack of true open door policy or maybe they do.
It depends on what they are looking for, subordinates that don’t think or stewards that contribute
Mr Cross was just looking for subordinates to fulfil his ambition at the cost of good people
What about you, are you an open door policy leader?
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Who knows what light could come from a chat?