Archive for January, 2014

open doorI’ve been reflecting lately on the doors of faculty and administrators.   In particular, what does it say about us if our door is often open or often closed?    Is our door closed because we are having a confidential meeting, a secretive discussion, or simply aren’t there?    What does it mean if nearly all of our meetings are closed door meetings?   What does this say about our leadership style?

I believe that the “Open Door Policy” in the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia is noteworthy. At Darden students are freely able to drop by a faculty member’s office to “ask a question about a case, to seek career advice or simply to chat”.    Perhaps this is why Darden is ranked the #1 MBA education experience by The Economist and #1 in student satisfaction by Bloomberg Businessweek.  What effect does this have on student success?    See the blog entry written by MBA student Gloria Lau.

University leaders should carefully consider their open door policies.   An article in Forbes Magazine gives four reasons for an open door policy for new leaders: accessibility, open flow of communication, fast access to information, and closer working relationships.

I believe we can learn a lot about a person by simply observing the door to their office.  I prefer to work in an open, inclusive environment with an open flow of communication.   When a person’s office is often closed, barriers, both real and imagined, are created and trust is lost.

Take a few moments to reflect on your office door.   Is it open?  Are you readily available for discussion?   When you engage in discussions, do you shut your door or leave it open?   If you shut your door during a discussion, ask yourself ‘why?’.   Are you the faculty member you want to be?

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe


Read Full Post »