The art of communication is the language of leadership. – James Humes
Separation of status
How is your office set up? Most managers will have a desk with their own chair behind it – usually a plush, an expensive leather option with lower back support. Then there might be a chair or two in front, with a less expensive feel. It’s a standard set-up, but it’s also reinforcing a certain notion even if you don’t realize it.
By beckoning your employees to talk to you in a room which is set up just the same way that an interrogation room might be, you’re sending them a message about your status – and how far beneath you they are. This is great if you feel the need to make them remember, but not so great for encouraging open conversation. In other words, you may be coming across as a weak leader with a desperate need to make everyone see how powerful you are. You may also be ruling with fear, rather than helping your team to communicate openly.
If you want open conversation, come out from behind your desk and get comfier chairs for your employees. Better yet, find a meeting room to chat in.
Clutter and mess
Is there clutter and mess everywhere over your office? Have you not seen the actual surface of your desk in months? Do you even remember where anything is? A cluttered office is definitely a sign of a mind that isn’t too great at organization, or at keeping on top of things.
Clutter tells people that you don’t know what you’re doing. They’ll most likely think that you lucked into a management position and are now out of your depth. They won’t trust you or respect you right off the bat. It’s never a good sign – and it also gives the impression that it’s fine for your employees to be disorganized, messy, and late with their work.
If you don’t want to give this impression, consider getting rid of some of the junk. If you’ve got filing cabinets full of useless things that you need to keep for some reason, you could always move them into storage. You can easily find cheap storage on a community site like Spacer, so it needn’t take up much of your yearly budget.
Shrine to yourself
If your office is full of mementos, you might want to rethink things a little. When you step into an office filled with a manager’s achievements, you get the impression that it’s all about them. Photos of their kids, their degree certificate, that time they met someone famous, the awards they’ve won, the ceremonies they have attended… it all sends out a message that they are more focused on their personal achievements than the company’s growth.
If you’re telling people you’re all about teamwork, you love working together, and you can’t wait to help the company grow, then it may concern you to know that your decorations are telling a different story. Replace them with team achievements and photos from staff days out, and you’ll be getting somewhere.
You may not realize how much your office says about you as a leader before you sit down and really analyze it. The best way to see it is to imagine how you would feel if the office belonged to someone else.
Emma Lewis is a loving mother, a devoted wife and a part of the team supporting Spacer – a company helping you find storage space whenever you need it. Emma is also a staunch supporter of the sharing
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