Jason B. Ladd

Ask the Questions. Embrace the Answers. Make the Leap.

The Benefit of Closing Your Open Door Policy

open door policy
We’ve all heard it. You’ve probably said it. It’s what you thought you had to say and what you thought your team expected to hear:

“I have an open door policy.”

An open door policy has several advantages.

  • It creates an environment of trust
  • It shows your team your concern for their feedback.
  • It encourages clear, direct communication

According to the Management Study Guide website:

“The role of the managing director, chief executive officer or the chairman is not just to sit in locked cabins the entire day and shout on the employees; instead they should act as a strong pillar of support for them. A healthy interaction amongst the employees is essential for a positive ambience at the workplace. The management must address the employees from time to time to motivate them and expect the best out of them.”1

The message of having an open door policy is that you are accessible.

But did you know that your open door policy has a cost?

The Cost

Best-selling author and leadership blogger Michael Hyatt warns about unfettered accessbility in his post “If You Want To Be Successful, Stop Being So Accessible.”

“The more successful you become as a leader, the more other people will demand of your time. And that’s where the trouble begins.”2

Hyatt suggests that the greater your success, the less accessible you must become. He also acknowledges that you may be misunderstood.3

We all know about the “go-to” guy. He’s the guy with all the answers. He has them because at some point he did the work instead of asking someone else. His reward is to be bombarded with questions by others who don’t want to do the work; they just want the answer. If he remains accessible all the time, his own productivity is going to suffer.

Biblical Inaccessability

Jesus made himself inaccessible when there was important work to be done. The Bible clearly shows the importance Jesus placed on spending time in prayer. In fact, it is so important that he often made himself inaccessible during his private conversations with the Father. Reference Luke 5:15–16:

“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (NIV).

And Mark 1:35:

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (NIV).

Today, our smartphones will most likely accompany us to our lonely and solitary places. You will be interrupted, and the trivial questions will keep coming.

A General Principle

A Marine General recently addressed the problem of unlimited accessibility via e-mail correspondence. The topic was how to remain productive despite never-ending questions about progress and demands for information.

His solution was simple:

“Stop answering them.”

If it’s really important, they’ll find a way to reach you in person.

That is, if you let them.

That’s the great thing about Jesus–he’s better than we are. All you have to do is knock, and the door will be open.

1 “Open Door Policy–Meaning And Its Advantages,” Management Study Guide, accessed April 29, 2014, http://managementstudyguide.com/open-door-policy.htm

2Michael Hyatt, “If You Want To Be Successful, Stop Being So Accessible,”MichaelHyatt.com, April 23, 2014.
3 Ibid.

Photo Credit: Ivan Kramskoi, PD, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kramskoi_Christ_dans_le_désert.jpg

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About Jason B. Ladd

Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.

3 Replies

  1. John Paine

    Great point Jason. I can really relate–there are days the interruptions and requests for help, guidance, or information seem relentless. It helps to appreciate how Jesus handled it. Thanks.

  2. Great point you make Jason.

  3. Susan Irene Fox

    Another fine example of where we need to look to get our priorities straight!