Many leaders and managers tell people that they have an “open door policy“. The intention of making this statement is to present the idea that if someone needs to come to discuss an issue, they are more than welcome to stop by the leader’s/manager’s office at any time. While I believe that many individuals truly mean to operate in such a manner, it is not always a reality.
As a leader, I have been recently reminded of the importance to make every effort to be able to respond to an individual when they need to talk. Sometimes the timing of things makes it very difficult to be available but it comes down to the philosophy that a person uses in their leadership. Now, I know and experience that there are times when it is absolutely impossible to sit down and have a conversation at the exact time another person indicates the need. However, if at all possible a leader should rearrange her/his time to make it a reality. If it truly is not possible, I think it is important that the leader tells the other person why it is not possible and establish a time to have the conversation as soon as it can be possible. Most people will be understanding if an explanation is given and an alternative time is agreed upon.
The reason that I believe this is so important is a reality that I learned a very long time ago, people and relationships are really what life is all about. This reality propels me to place people and relationships high on my list of priorities. I have experienced that when someone approaches me to sit down and talk about a matter and I take the time to do that, the time spent with the individual produces great rewards for me personally and benefits those I am striving to lead in a very positive way. I have never regretted when I have taken the time to sit down and be in conversation with an individual. I have regretted the times that I have let the opportunity pass by. Yes, it may mean that I have to stay at the office later. Yes, it may mean that I have to apologize to someone else for being late on a commitment. Yes, it may mean that I have a little more stress in my day trying to meet the commitments of the day. But in the total picture, I have seen it is the right thing to do.
As a believer, I have come to realize that the Lord gives me many opportunities to be a witness for the Lord through my life. I believe that one of the greatest ways I can demonstrate what the Lord is about is by keeping my door open to the conversations that can occur in my day. So when someone contacts me and asks to have a conversation, either by a message on social media, a phone call, or just dropping by my office, I do everything in my power to accommodate that conversation. If I am not able to do so right at that moment, I make sure that I schedule a time for the conversation to happen sooner rather than later because I have no idea what the Lord might want to accomplish in that conversation.