A leader can be physically available, but still unapproachable due to being distracted, overly critical or even sarcastic. Unapproachable leaders are an island — remote and inaccessible. And research shows that leaders who are perceived as unapproachable have higher employee turnover rates, something no leader wants to deal with.

Here are some ways to be more approachable as a leader from the PeopleEquation blog:

  • When meeting with people, remove distractions. Silence the cell phone and put it away. If it’s on your wrist, do not look at it while someone is talking with you.
  • Take a deep breath before responding to inflammatory statements and reply, “I’m curious, what leads you to say that?”
  • Practice genuine humility. People can spot “humble bragging” a mile away.
  • Smile.
  • Watch for verbal “erasers” that negate a positive statement. “That’s a good idea, but . . .”
  • Be sincere. If you don’t think the idea is “great” don’t label it as such. Search for an adjective that is more appropriate, but not damaging. Remember, to be an encouraging beacon, you must think before you speak.
  • Don’t take yourself so seriously. The best bosses take their jobs seriously, but not themselves. Learning to laugh at your shortcomings is one of the most effective ways to remove barriers between you and others.
  • Listen.
  • Build a reputation for keeping confidences. If an employee shares something with you in confidence it is a show of trust on his/her part.
  • Tell the truth, keep your promises. Your credibility depends on it and people won’t come to you if they think you’re not trustworthy.