The key to a successful social and professional behavioral ability is to be approachable. Your leadership behavioral competency rests upon your ability to be approachable by your co-works because no organization wants to be lead by an unapproachable leader. Most leaders are unaware that they are unapproachable. The following characteristics would help you figure out if you are an approachable person at work and what behaviors to demonstrate to be make yourself approachable.
Leadership Behavioral Competencies
- Take the lead: If you are known to be a person of very few words, it is perfectly fine. However, to seem approachable you need to modify certain qualities in terms of your communication skills. You must try and initiate conversations, keep eye contact and understand that the other person is not going to feel comfortable unless you feel comfortable talking to that person. Being approachable does not demand for you to be over-friendly. Instead, it requires tact to keep a conversation going without creating any awkwardness. Keep your tone warm and friendly, maintain eye contact, don’t get distracted and most importantly, make the other person feel important.
- Listen: The ability to be a good listener is an important attribution to your leadership behavioral competencies. An approachable person listens to what a person has to say without interrupting them, just to get a lead in the conversation. No matter how high up in the career ladder you are, you must always listen to your lower subordinates, just as much as you might listen to your bosses. Make the other person comfortable and before jumping the gun about what they have said, analyze their thoughts, concerns and ideas. Take notes, ask questions and understand what the speaker wants from you. It isn’t necessarily the case where they want your opinion, but just want to be heard. Being the go-to person in situations like these, is a great honor so welcome it.
- Share: ‘You get just how much you give’, is an important phrase to live by to be approachable. If you are closed as a person, you must not expect anybody to open up to you. Sharing thoughts, ideas, information that maybe essential for another person’s progress is an attribute of your leadership behavioral competencies. This does not necessarily have to be work related to be approachable, you need to disclose things other than information concerning just work and create a space where a person can find more than just a strict work relationship. Share unimportant tidbits of inconsequential subjects that may be interesting to them and you will be surprised to see how the person feels more comfortable around you.
- Get Personal: If you are going to be all about work and nothing else, you will not seem to be the most approachable person. Personalized gifts is a billion dollar industry and for a good reason! Psychologically people like to be known and understood, it gives them a feeling of comfort. To develop your leadership behavioral competency, understand and get to know the people you work with because that knowledge is going to help you develop your relationship with them and help you earn support, guidance and the power to influence when the need arises.
- Body language: Pay attention to your body language at all times to contribute to your leadership behavioral competency. It is extremely important to examine yourself every now and then, because the way you talk, the things you do may signal disinterest or boredom to the other person. Make sure you are calm, composed, sitting upright with good posture and not fiddling with knick-knacks around you. This is so important that even children have been trained for good body posture for years now. People read more into things than you may know or want them to.
- Be curious: Curiosity in the way that doesn’t kill the cat is the good kind of curiosity the kind of curiosity that makes people feel your interest in them and also help you understand them better. You would seem to be more approachable because they would feel that you have taken an interest in them and their line of thought. In an early stage of a discussion, make fewer statements and most definitely don’t start an argument, instead stick to the questions and stay curious, learn about all the information they want to share with you and be pleasant at all times. It is also an essential attribute to your leadership behavioral competency if your subordinates think of you as a person who takes an interest in them.
- Selectively Approachable: Some people find it hard to be approachable with certain groups of people and not so approachable around others. If you are one such person, the little secret to solve this problem is that they are all human! Maybe you are comfortable with direct reports but you aren’t good with authority. However, practice the same theories of approachability with both groups and you will be surprised to see that they both respond the same way after all, they are all humans!
- Arrogance: You may deny it but if you are the person who makes statements, comes up with solutions by yourself, devalue other’s efforts and contributions and dictates things to be done in an authoritative manner then you are without a doubt an arrogant person! Arrogance is a major downfall in your leadership behavioral competency and you will definitely not seem like an approachable person. Make an effort to make others feel comfortable around you, listen to them and show some interest in what they are saying. Everybody likes to feel important so don’t devalue what they have to say in an obvious and arrogant manner, even if you don’t see the importance of it.
- Handling conflict: As you become more approachable with people, you tend to become the go-to person to vent out problems and complaints. Conflict resolution is a leadership behavioral competency however, if not dealt with in the right way it can turn into the beginning of office politics. When conflicting situations arise, take a neutral stance and approach the situation with diplomacy. Avoid getting pulled onto sides and help strike a win-win situation by looking into all possible solutions to the problems.
Approachability is a crucial leadership behavioral competency to lead a highly effective and efficient team. As a leader, it is imperative that you make an effort to connect with your direct reports as well as your higherups and this begins with creating an approachable aura to your personality, both socially as well as professionally.