Open Door Policy

My friend Joe loaned me is copy of a law enforcement-related leadership book. As with most such accidental occurrences, it was quite interesting. When the original presentation by the author of the book was announced where Joe works, he was less than enthusiastic. It turned out that he enjoyed the presentation and learned to look at things slightly differently.

One of the amusing revelations is that the speaker talked about the stupidity of the ‘open door’ policy. Managers claim that an open door signifies availability, listening, and responsiveness.

The speaker explained that this is, in fact, counter-productive and wrong.

Why wouldn’t a manager be out among his subordinates, in their areas and comfort zones? He’s being paid to manage them and therefore should be familiar with their world and jobs. Expecting subordinates to go to his office where they are not comfortable and where they normally perform no duties is actually bad for the organization.

If a manager goes to his people’s areas, he is learning and his subordinates can talk to him without being afraid of appearing as if they are brown-nosing or ratting on the group.

I’m supposing that Joe had never heard this commentary before because he seemed to like it.
I’ve heard it before – and I like it, too.