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2 Connected Ways to Be a More Accessible Leader

It’s remarkable how so many people from every industry and all walks of life are stepping up and showing support for one another as we find our way forward during these first-time-ever circumstances. I have to admit I’m inspired. I hope you are too.

As I find myself becoming an accidental Zoom expert by participating in numerous video calls, I’ve also heard about leaders who are finding creative ways of engaging online. For instance, bestselling author and consultant Patrick Lencioni has been hosting free weekly consultation calls with upwards of 7,000 people on the call at one time.

His attendance clearly demonstrates a pressing need. One of the messages Pat emphasized last month was to celebrate—and plan to keep—the beneficial practices that have sprung from necessity. For instance, Pat mentions one CEO in particular who holds office hours one day a week—for the entire day.

According to Pat, this CEO is literally online working in front of a live computer so any one of his employees can use the video link provided for that day and visit him to chat. Visits vary from purely social to strategic and tactical. His employees find comfort in knowing they have access  to him even in challenging times. I guess you could call this an open-screen policy.

I thought this was an interesting example of a leader who’s prioritizing accessibility and approachability—especially when some of our tendencies might be to hunker down and keep to our individual screens and email boxes when times are tough.

Making yourself available to the people around you is one aspect of accessibility, but I would argue that responsiveness is the other side of the same coin. When you provide that level of cooperation with your colleagues, direct report, and leaders, you’re making it easier for others to work more efficiently and lead more productively in their own spheres.

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Hamid Moghadam comes to mind when I think about responsiveness. Hamid, who is the current CEO of Prologis, tries to respond roughly within an hour of receiving an email or call. That’s a goal he holds himself to—no one else. He believes people deserve that of him. I think that is a tough but admirable priority for any leader to emulate, and it’s incredibly supportive. It also shows the person emailing him that they matter and allows for a more streamlined and efficient work environment.

I can only imagine how helpful that practice has been during a time when many employees and leaders are tasked with carrying out their respective deliverables in alignment with a business model that may be abruptly changing. I’m curious if any of you have experienced new practices that have started due to changing times but may be something you’ll hang on to when things improve.

No matter how small, these methods add up to a more connected culture—something we all desperately need right now. Let’s celebrate the beneficial work habits that have sprung out of necessity and hold on tight to them in better times.  

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