Visibility is also comprised of “reputation” which is the intangible ways that individuals connect with you. Do you create a welcoming atmosphere that reflects your desire to be accessible? When your colleagues come to see you, is your behavior creating or hindering access? Here are some ways to create a welcoming atmosphere that inspires access:
- Place your office or workstation chair facing the door. This way, you are able to see colleagues as they enter your office or workstation. When your back is facing the entrance to your office or workstation, you subliminally are sending the message, “Don’t interrupt me.”
- Stand and welcome colleagues to your office or workstation. To minimize the perception that they are interrupting you, demonstrate that your colleagues are not bothering you by physically welcoming them to the conversation.
- Ask your colleagues how you can help them. Even though your colleagues have come to see you, take the lead.
- Sit next to your colleagues, not behind your desk. One of the best ways to be accessible is to get out from behind your desk and sit next to colleagues. This may reduce any unintended positions of power and will create better conversations.
Do your interactions with colleagues inspire them to reach out to you again? Once you have welcomed your colleagues into the conversation, is your behavior helping or hindering the reason your colleagues came to see you in the first place? Here are some ways to inspire your colleagues to reach out to you in the future:
- Have the answer at that moment. This is the simplest way to ensure that your colleagues benefit from their interaction with you. You have an answer to their need and you can provide the answer at that moment.
- Have the answer, yet you are not available at the moment. Just because someone is attempting to ask you a question or ask for help does not mean you have to respond at that moment. Your fast-paced and frenzied work organizations do not leave a lot of free time for unanticipated interruptions. If you are not available at the moment colleagues comes to see you, yet you can help them, let your colleagues know that you are busy at the moment and schedule a time to reconnect.
- You don’t have an answer, yet promise to get an answer for them. You may be the best person to help your colleagues, yet you don’t know the answer. Let your colleagues know you can help them but you will need time to get the answer, and schedule a time to reconnect.
- Direct them to someone who may have an answer when you don’t. You don’t have to know everything! If you are not the best person to help your colleagues, don’t just send them away without benefiting from their interaction with you. Identify another colleague who can assist them further.
You can find Ed’s book, Raise Your Visibility & Value: Uncover the Lost Art of Connecting on the Job