The Three A’s of Leadership
Accessibility, Approachability, and Availability
If you want to be an AWESOME leader, you need the Three A’s: Accessibility, Approachability, and Availability. Let’s talk through each one:
A lot of people think they can just sit on their throne and watch people work once they become a leader, but that’s simply not true. People need access to you. Your entire team needs contact with you through some semblance of an open door policy. Can they send you a DM? An email? Call you on the phone? Walk up to you? Access to you varies within your team, of course, and you need to set boundaries. If you have 100 people working for you, maybe only direct reports have your more immediate forms of contact. You also need to create proper expectations. For instance, let your team know you will respond to their emails within a certain timeframe.
Accessibility means nothing unless you’re approachable. Your disposition, attitude, and persona establish your approachability – so smile and be friendly. Don’t act off put when someone comes to you with a problem. Instead, reinforce your approachability by letting them know you’re happy they brought the issue to you. If your team feels comfortable they can come to you with any issue, they’ll also come to you with good news.
Of course, being accessible and approachable is useless if you’re too busy to approach, so block out time to talk to people and be available. If you’re traveling to other offices, set up 1-on-1 meetings with your direct reports, and leave extra time on your calendar so non-direct reports can speak with you as well. If nothing else, it gives them a moment to approach you and schedule a time to talk. If an employee approaches you and you aren’t accessible, approachable, or available at that moment – find a time when you can be and have the discussion later. 1UP: Follow through! It builds credibility and reinforces your accessibility.
Exhibiting the Three A’s makes you an awesome boss because it allows you to do impromptu 1-on-1 meetings and gives you presence with your non-direct reports. Your reward is connections, information, and rapport with your employees that you wouldn’t have otherwise. The core of great leadership is people, so work on the Three A’s and they will work for you!