Frank Barresi, Co-founder and retired President of Craft Barresi Consultants
I believe a key to successful leadership is the implementation and encouragement of an “Open Door Policy.”
In my 30 plus years as an Employee and Labor Relations consultant, I have met very few executives who did not claim to have an Open Door policy. Many even had Employee Handbooks that trumpeted such a policy. Yet, few actually had a true Open Door despite their claims, both written and verbal. They claimed their door was always open to employees, but how many employees actually came through that door to talk to them?! Unfortunately, far too few travel through the open door to generate real communication or fruitful conversation.
The trappings of an executive office area, a protective Administrative Assistant, the importance of an incoming phone call are among the impediments to the success of a traditional Open Door policy.
If you desire to have a true Open Door policy, you must go through that open door yourself and go out and have real conversations with your employees. Talk to them about their importance to the success of your company. Ask for their ideas and suggestions, and listen with genuine interest.
Also take the time to discuss their families and their personal issues and goals.
If you are responsible for a large operation, and do not know your employees and their families there are two suggestions I would offer:
- Prior to entering a department, talk to the department supervision and determine the current activities among their employees.
- Visit an employee exit at quitting time and thank departing employees for their efforts that week.
Open door policies work; they do help establish a foundation of positive leadership.
However, you must go through that open door on a regularly scheduled basis for your Open Door policy to be successful.
Frank Barresi is the co-founder and retired President of Craft Barresi Consultants, a management consulting firm dedicated to assisting management in the tactical and strategic planning of positive employer-employee relations activities. Since the firm’s inception in 1974, Craft Barresi has been a leader in the design and development of employer- employee communications channels.
Frank received his Bachelors degree from The University of Detroit and has a Masters degree in Business Administration from Michigan State University.
I have great admiration for Frank and his family. His wife, Sandy, like Frank, is also highly intelligent and caring. They have two sons: Jim is a very accomplished attorney with Squire Sanders, chairing the firm’s global financial service practice, and Matt is a senior marketing director, oral care products, for Procter and Gamble.