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September 05, 2023

11 Ways to Be a More Approachable Leader

Picture this: you stroll into a room, and everyone stops to look your way. Not because you’re wearing a cape (well, maybe metaphorically), but because your approachability as a leader shines. 

Because, let’s be real, being a rockstar leader isn’t about having the fanciest office chair or getting your own parking spot (though that would be nice, wouldn’t it?). It’s about creating a team that’s not afraid to share ideas, ask questions, and occasionally join in on an impromptu dance party (preferably not during the quarterly budget review, though).

It’s easy to assume extroverted people have this approachability thing in the bag. But it’s actually way more complicated than that. It’s about projecting a mix of openness, warmth, humility, authenticity, and empathy

Wanna learn how to be a more approachable leader? Give these 11 strategies a try!

1. Flash a Genuine Smile

Alright, Captain Obvious, this one’s a classic for a reason. Flashing a genuine smile can transform you from a corporate robot into a friendly neighborhood leader. Your smile is like a welcome mat that says, “Hey there, I’m here to help you!”

2. Master the Art of Active Listening 

Imagine having a conversation where your mind isn’t simultaneously drafting an email and planning next weekend’s barbecue. Crazy, right?! Approachable leaders are like detectives – they listen, ask questions, and genuinely care about what others are saying. So, ditch the multitasking, Sherlock, and tune in!

3. Use Body Language 

Your body language can make or break your approachability. Maintain eye contact without making it feel like a staring contest. Unfold those arms and uncross those legs. Lean in a bit and nod occasionally to show you’re engaged.

4. Keep Your Inner Perfectionist in Check 

Nobody wants to hang out with Mr. or Ms. Perfect – it’s just not fun. Allow your human side to shine by admitting mistakes and embracing imperfections. Show that you’re a real person, not a corporate deity descended from the heavens

5. Throw in Some Self-Deprecating Humor

You know what’s cooler than a penguin in sunglasses? A leader who doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Crack a joke about that time you couldn’t figure out the office coffee machine, or how your dance moves belong in the “Uncoordinated Hall of Fame.” Humor makes you relatable, and relatable is approachable

6. Ditch the Towering Ego

You might be wearing the leadership hat, but as Freud would probably chime in, it wouldn’t hurt to wrangle that ego back a bit. Approachability and humility are BFFs. Share credit, acknowledge others’ contributions, and remember, your team is a symphony – you’re just one note in the melody

7. Banish the “Busy Bee” Vibe

We get it – you’re busy. But wearing the “I’m too busy for anyone” badge won’t earn you popularity points. To be a more approachable leader, prioritize your tasks, manage your time, and make space for impromptu chats or coffee breaks.

8. Spark Conversations with Common Ground

Finding common interests is like discovering a secret code for building rapport. If you’re passionate about the latest season of a popular show or a classic rock band, use it as conversation fuel. Suddenly, you’re not just the boss; you’re the one who can dissect the plot twists or discuss air-guitar solos.

9. Remember Names, Not Just Titles

“Heyyyy there, my dude” doesn’t cut it. Addressing people by their names conveys respect. If you have a memory like a sieve, jot down names and key details after meetings – you’ll look like a memory wizard next time you meet.

10. Embrace the Power of Empathy

When your team knows you genuinely care about their well-being, you’re on your way to approachability stardom. Understand their challenges, acknowledge their feelings, and offer support.

11. Create a Feedback-Friendly Zone

Approachable leaders don’t just tolerate feedback; they actively seek it out. Create an environment where opinions flow like a never-ending chocolate fountain. Acknowledge feedback graciously, and when you act on it, you’re not just approachable – you’re an inspiring example of growth-minded leadership.

The Formula to Be a More Approachable Leader

So there you have it, leaders in training! To be a more approachable leader is a cocktail of genuine smiles, active listening, humility, and a dash of quirky humor. 

Embrace your human side, connect with your team on a personal level, and sprinkle empathy like confetti. Remember, you’re not just the leader; you’re the captain of the approachability squad, and the world needs you right about now!

Interested in coaching or team workshops? Let's chat!

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