Open Door Policy

How many times have you heard a manager say they have an open door policy?

Though not as much of the management lexicon as it used to be it is still commonly heard.

I expect the reduction in use is partly due to the open plan environment, and partly due to the sanctimony it received by many who claimed it.

I was one of those ‘called out’ by my staff some years ago – they acknowledged my door was open physically but felt that was as far as it went.

It was such a great lesson.

“Have I ever seen an open door policy?”


Obviously everybody should know what is required? Right?

I expect the reality is otherwise.

Wikipedia and other links delivered pretty much what I expected – boring, stiff, follow the rules, and confined to managing ‘the event’.

How dull.

Here’s my take -Part 1:

  • Firstly you don’t need a door. Metaphorically anyone can close a door to communication whether they have a door or not. So let’s change the term to Open Policy.
  • Secondly it shouldn’t be a policy, it should be a way of life. So now we have Open.

Now we can get to work.

Here’s my take on Open:

  • You work here, let’s talk.
  • If I am busy presently I’ll tell you but not push you away without scheduling a time or following through ASAP.
  • I’m your boss’s boss. No problem, let’s talk, I won’t undermine them, but I need to understand why you are wanting to talk to me.
  • I’ll find some way to show I can’t be disturbed right now.
  • You want to waste my time, I won’t let you.
  • I promise I won’t waste your time.
  • I promise I won’t make any promises I won’t keep.
  • I’ll use my professional discretion in terms of what stays here and what moves on.
  • I’ll thank you, you’ll hopefully thank me.
  • I’m authentic, try me.

Any questions?

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