In an age of electronic communication, we often forget the importance of face time.
Not just the big meetings or even the scheduled staff meetings and one-one-ones. A leader who is not present in more informal settings is not accessible and does not engender trust.
Physical presence is a start. Take a roundabout way from the front door to your office- a different one each day. One CEO I know runs a division that occupies 5 buildings. She goes in a different door in a different building every day. She walks the halls in a casual route. Her presence is familiar so no one is unnecessarily paranoid when Janet comes down the hall.
But physical presence is just an enabler. How about introducing yourself to those you do not know and greeting those you do. Be available for conversation, questions and even the odd short discussion. When a leader is truly open to ideas and interactions, familiarity leads to admiration- not contempt. Moreover, one of the most damaging and hard to shake perceptions of poor leadership is that of being aloof and unapproachable. Being present and available not only diminishes aloofness. The trust you may engender will help you to learn a lot about what is happening in the organization you lead.
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