I woke up this morning and added the words “be approachable” to my life development chart in my bedroom.  I was inspired to add these words based on a story I was listening to.

Someone was sharing a personal story about a pain point they experienced when they entered the corporate world. This person had landed their dream job at their dream company. One of the main reasons that attracted them to this organisation was because of the CEO. As a young person, they admired the CEO because on the various public platforms, he appeared to be a charismatic character, eloquent of speech, cutting edge business leader and extremely intelligent. After a couple of months of working there, they were assigned to a project in the CEO’s office. The project required that he meet the CEO to gather information. The day before the meeting he was so excited, finally he will meet this formidable leader, or so he thought. The morning came, he went to the executive floor, greeted the PA and was asked to wait a few minutes outside the office.

Finally the door opened, the PA looked over to him and signed with her hand that he may enter. The first thing he noticed when he entered was that the CEO had his head down and was busy writing, so he quietly sat down and waited for him to finish. When he finished, the young lad greeted cheerfully, the CEO responded in a nonchalant manner. During the course of the meeting the CEO was so rude, and kept shutting down the young man’s ideas. Post that meeting the CEO would not attend some meetings set up by the chap and if he did accept a meeting invite, the young man would lie awake the night before anxious about what the following day would bring.

This guy eventually resigned after a few months and went on to get other jobs. Years later he started his own enterprise and it became a success. What touched me most about the story, was the key principal he has built his business on, and that  is approachability. He learnt from the early years of his career that ideas are inhibited if we don’t have a culture of being approachable.

The Collins English dictionary defines the word approachable as:

“friendly and easy to talk”

I started reflecting about how I have faced my fair share of people in leadership positions who are just not approachable. As people, we generally have a desire to achieve and a desire to connect. It is the connection that sets alight ideas and brings life. I want to be an approachable person and I have penned the following questions as kick starters to help me:

  • How approachable am I?
  • Am I doing something or not doing something to be approachable?

Some ideas to answer the kick starters are:

  1. Being a listener…it truly starts here. I saw the below quote the other day and it really blessed my heart!

“Are you really listening…or are you just waiting for your turn to talk?” Robert Montgomery

  1. Being humble… Someone once said,“humility is not thinking less of yourself, its thinking of yourself  less…” We are not our titles, wealth and accomplishments.
  2. Being kind…I promise you one of the best ways to influence people is through kindness. When you live out your kindness, people will do absolutely anything for you joyfully.

Let me know your thoughts on how you think you rank on being approachable? 🙂


Image courtesy: https://www.superinterns.com/2015/09/approachable-boss/