As I work to improve my skills as a coach, there is a suggested best practice that if a coach can relate an experience that a client finds stressful, to an experience that is typically less stressful, the client will understand their stressful situation more clearly. This is what I have found with my poker analogy. In poker, you will be dealt either a good hand or a bad hand. Regardless of the hand you are dealt, it is the hand you have to play. More of your energy should be spent figuring out how to play the hand. By comparing their workplace to a poker hand – my clients seem better able to understand their situations, and more importantly, think more clearly about what to do about them.
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You may feel that you should not respond to colleagues until you have the answer to their questions or requests. Or you might assume that others know you are working on their problem and you don’t feel a need to keep them updated. You may rationalize that you are too busy to get back to anyone except your boss. But here’s why responsiveness is important.
The ability of others to connect to you frequently and instantly highlights an interesting human behavior. The speed in which a colleague reaches you creates an identical expectation as to how long it will take you to respond. Similar to a fast-paced ping pong game, your colleagues expect you to be responsive just as quickly as they got the ball to your side of the table.
“Responsiveness is the degree to which you get back to colleagues and foster progress.”
Being Accessible does not mean you are available 24/7/52. We all have limits on the degree to which we can be reached by co-workers, and you should feel comfortable enforcing and expecting others to honor these limits.
Can you be too successful at modeling accessible behavior? Is this an example of “too much of a good thing”? We all know that sunlight is a good thing, yet too much can cause skin cancer. We know that the human body needs sugar to survive, and yet too much may cause diabetes. If you’re wildly successful at being accessible, you may find your calendar under attack.
Your goal is to make sure you are being accessible to serve the needs of others, not to become their servant.
Visibility is also comprised of “reputation” which is the intangible ways that individuals connect with you. Are you being welcoming to your colleagues and creating an 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:
Visibility is comprised of “presence” which is the tangible ways that individuals connect with you. Here are a few ways to make sure it’s as easy as possible for colleagues to find you.
Being readily accessible benefits everyone. Ram Reddy is the Chief Information Officer at The Rockport Group, offering high-quality dress and casual footwear to customers globally. Despite the daily challenges he faces in his busy workplace, Ram is committed to being accessible to those who reach out to him.