Shortly before I was downsized out of one of my last day jobs, the company I worked for hired a new manager. I don’t remember exactly what his title was or exactly who it was he supposed to be managing, but he was a new higher-up and of course everyone was trying to figure out the new office dynamic.
When he was introduced to us in the morning meeting, he suggested that his “door was always open,” so after giving him a few days to settle in I stopped by to say hello and introduce myself.
“Um, hi, can I help you?” he said after I knocked on the aforementioned open door.
“Hi, I’m Mark and I just wanted to…” I said politely.
“Yeah, Mark, is it? Mark if you could make an appointment with Cathy, I’ll be glad to help you with whatever it is you need. OK? Thanks.”
Needless to say, I never tested his open-door policy again, but I did get a nifty cartoon out of it!
The “open door policy” story is so true that it hurts – not just employees but business performance. The real test comes when without secretaries, PA, and other gatekeepers, how often team members would want to communicate with their manager? And, how often does he leave his office to reach out to others? Ummm..
When I sold my company I worked for it as a Executive VP, whatever that was. I heard the same “my door is always open” too. I tested this phrase very well during my short stay, but never heard the old “make an appointment” ploy. What I did get was the cold body language that said “your bothering me son”.