Ep 87 – What Are the Qualities of an Approachable Leader?

qualities, leadership, approachable, managerial

Leadership is a topic that permeates the workplace and yet 77% of organizations say their leadership strategy was only somewhat, or not at all, aligned with their business strategy. Leadership is a huge area of opportunity for businesses in this competitive economy.

Episode 87: What Are the Qualities of an Approachable Leader with Phil Wilson (@ApproachableDr)

I sat down with Phil Wilson during the 2016 SHRM Annual Conference. While leadership remains a popular topic at conferences, seminars and on blogs like these, it’s hard for managers to make small incremental changes in how they lead individuals and for what purpose. In short, great leaders can be made by building relationships and being more connected to your team members and employees. Phil shares with me why, as leaders, we sometimes feel so disconnected, and how we can reconnect with our team members in order to build those relationships and get their most engaged, productive and best work during the work day.

Approachability is defined as, capable of being approached; easy to meet or deal with. Phil shares during the podcast that approachability isn’t just about being nice to your team members. It starts first with understanding their needs and then also building trust. The good news is that being an approachable leader can be taught. Phil walks us through some of the basics including the three elements of connection between and leader and those they lead as part of the podcast.

Phil’s book, The Approachability Playbook offers a number of tools leaders can immediately put to work to better connect, engage and ultimately lead your team. Phil gives great insights into leadership and why all good leaders struggle with power. He talks us through our comfort level with power and “power distance,” which is your relationship to power as a person and how others respond to this. Approachable Leadership is about making others around you feel comfortable and creating openness which leads to your team feeling more comfortable to have conversations with you which leads to better relationships and a better team dynamic. Phil mentions that an important quality of a leader is empathy. Personally, I think this quality isn’t just important for leaders — we could all use a little more empathy every day.

How Can HR Create a Culture of Leadership?

In HR we are often tasked with providing resources, information and serving as a guide for organizational leaders and teams. We can’t command or make anyone incorporate new leadership or business practices because we are more business partner than leader. We don’t have any power because we are not income generating — or so we are lead to believe. Being approachable is essential to an effective and strategic human resources department. We can create a culture of leadership by first leading by example. Phil walks us through some ways HR can create a culture of leadership in our own organizations.

Check out his great interview on my podcast and connect with Phil Wilson on LinkedIn.



*A special thank you to my production team at Total Picture Radio.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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