A snarky tweet from @OrchestraSay the other day got me thinking about workplace leadership jargon that can use a timeout.
When the executive director says "My door is always open." They really mean:
1. This sounds like something a friendly person says
2. This counts as trying to care
3. You are all witnesses to me being magnanimous
4. Piss off
— Shit Orchestra Musicians Say (@OrchestraSay) January 20, 2020
An “open-door policy” is definitely one of those phrases that not only needs a timeout, but a full replacement. For starters, anyone in a position of authority who tells you “my door is always open” likely isn’t sincere. If they are, that’s an entirely different problem.
When you boil away the good intentions, all you’re left with is the reality that an open-door policy places the responsibility for employees to absorb the risk of initiating a conversation about an idea or problem and it makes things easier for squeaky wheels to dominate strategy.
Most of managers I encounter who use the phrase are either brand new or use it with ulterior motives in mind.
All of this is to say it’s high time to send this phrase out to pasture.
In the meantime, what characteristics do you think help contribute to developing levels of transparency, collaboration, and trust needed to build a healthy workplace culture?