Well, maybe. An open-door policy encouraging workers to visit and discuss issues and concerns requires more than simply a door swung open. You must also have a psychologically safe workplace. A psychologically safe workplace naturally encourages employees to stick their necks out, approach you, and take advantage of what you are offering. They do so because they are confident they will not be rejected or punished for admitting a mistake, bringing a complaint, asking a question, or offering a new idea. Help employees feel respected, accepted, and comfortable at all times. Model this to others. The bottom line is: How you interact with employees outside your office will determine whether they will walk through your open door later.
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There are techniques for changing your mood. A frequent need to improve your mood could be a sign of depression or another medical condition. In this case, visit Personal Assistance Service for an assessment to see whether there are other steps worth considering. Here are a few quick tips:
- Exercise regularly. It will influence your mood to keep it more positive.
- Feel an undesirable mood coming on? Go for a short "exercise snack," a 10-to-15-minute walk outside or in a new environment.
- Sit quietly, and for five minutes, imagine some activity you experience great pleasure in doing, such as fishing, gardening, hiking, or playing with grandchildren. This will influence a more positive mood, and it helps you keep life in perspective.
Moods are related to subtle negative "self-talk." Your mood can change as you change your inner dialogue. You will notice an improved effect with practice. Make an appointment with PAS if you remain concerned about the need to alter your mood, chronic feelings of irritability, or a communication style that does not facilitate a positive relationship with your employees.
Your fears may be normal in the face of a rapid rise in your career. Many people with fears similar to yours have discovered nothing came of them despite the anxiety they often felt. The collection of symptoms you describe is sometimes called "impostor syndrome." Don't panic. Talk to PAS, and allow professionals there to guide you in gaining relief. Be prepared to share more about your concerns, career path, supervisor relationship, and specific fears. Impostor syndrome is an internal sense of fear, not based on reality. The impostor syndrome can be exacerbated by a difficult relationship with the boss or peers, or by a true shortage of skills, but rarely by the inability to perform the job or rapidly learn it.
Demonstrating vulnerability will tend to improve relationships in your personal life, but it can undermine your supervisory role in correcting work performance. The workplace operates with a different set of dynamics than your personal life. There are hierarchical differences between workers and those who supervise them. Supervisors possess influence and leverage that allow them the power to correct problems, guide employees, judge performance, and discipline and reward employees. But these factors can be undermined. One way to do that is to give employees the impression that you and they are equal in work-related status. Self-disclosure (being too close and personal) produces this result. If you are perceived as a friend rather than a boss, your employees lose the sense of urgency needed to work under your direction. Coaxing and pleading become faulty tools of persuasion. The same dynamic occurs when parents forgo discipline to become friends with their children. If a supervisor needs help with how to connect with workers and how to share their own issues, PAS can be a good resource to help make a plan on how to do this.
Supervisors may naturally come to know their employees quite well as they discover their work goals, ambitions, personality styles, and whatever personal information they choose to share about their lives. It follows that the same supervisors will notice when things are not quite right. It is then appropriate to ask - and supervisors should ask - how employees are doing. These meaningful conversations with supervisors may lead to employees getting help for personal problems. Seeing an employee at his or her desk all day and not interacting with others should concern you if it is uncharacteristic. Showing concern could lead to the discovery of a serious matter and referral to PAS.
I have been a department head overseeing dozens of other supervisors for many years. I think many don't see all the benefits that come with managing a more complete relationship with a worker beyond simple concerns about work output. What benefits accrue from more engaged relationships with employees?
As you point out, a more complete supervisory relationship with employees has many payoffs. Beyond focusing on quality or quantity of work, these payoffs include improved communication and a closer, more trusting relationship between the supervisor and employee. This reduces supervisor stress and negative emotions that create unwanted, unnecessary distraction when problems arise. Employees become more interested in their work, improve self-awareness, accomplish more goals, and experience improved job satisfaction, which can reduce turnover and loss of a valuable worker. Ultimately, proper employee management reduces conflict, too. Trust and respect between the worker and manager grow, and a collaboration develops that benefits the work unit. PAS can help supervisors develop more engaged relationships with employees by helping analyze personnel problems, conflicts, and communication issues, as well as assist in finding creative approaches to help workers make changes that the supervisor can consider.