“I just can’t seem to get anything done,” lamented Ralph. “It seems that, all day long, people just line up at my door with questions and problems they cannot solve. I spend more time working on their problems than my own problems.”
I asked Ralph how accessible he was. “Oh, I have an open door policy. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I closed my door.”
An open door policy sounds like an admirable leadership trait, when, in practice, it can create unintended results. An open door policy can actually train your team members that you are the fastest way to solve a problem. As the manager, you can become the shortcut that prevents independent research, arriving at new ideas, or formulating original strategy.
On the wall, behind the swivel chair of one of my favorite clients, is posted the following phrase, “What are you going to do about that?”
You see, an open door policy has little to do with the door.