Are you an approachable leader? For many leaders, not being approachable is their biggest blind spot. To effectively lead your team, you must be able to put people at ease. When people feel comfortable, they perform at their best.

So how can you strive to be a more accessible, approachable leader? Lolly Daskal, founder and CEO of Lead From Within, says you can start by building a rapport, listening, sharing and understanding others. We share Daskal’s best ways to do this in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Initiate. As the leader, being approachable has to start with you. You must extend your hand first, you have to make eye contact first, you have to ask the questions first, says Daskal. You must make the first move so people feel comfortable with you.

Do some drive-bys. To build the connections that allow people to think of you as approachable, take time every day to stop at a desk or two and check in to see how the person is doing. Daskal suggests asking about their family, pets or interests. The whole idea is not to talk about work but to show that you care about them as a person.

Give people your full attention. According to Daskal, being available with your full attention demonstrates that you’re involved and interested in those around you. This makes it easier for them to come to you—both in good times and when problems arise. Don’t try to multitask when a person is standing in front of you. Show them that they have your complete attention, whether they’re telling you about their weekend or explaining a serious work-related issue.

Share information. Approachable leaders share information—and they get more information in return, along with loyalty and trust. Daskal says that when leaders confide in their team and invite others to respond in turn, they gain important insights. People feel valued and truly part of a team, and they respond with engagement and energy.

Become a good listener. Approachable leaders are good listeners, notes Daskal. They listen without interrupting, they ask clarifying questions and they don’t judge instantly. They listen to understand. Then they restate what is being said to show they hear and understand, with questions to fill in any gaps. They don’t necessarily offer advice or try to fix situations that don’t require their involvement. Their focus is on hearing, understanding and connecting.

Give your time. You never want to come across as a leader who doesn’t have the time for their people. At work and in life, make sure every day you make time for the people and things that are most important to you, says Daskal. Even if you’re the busiest person in the world, order your days so those around you know that you matter to them.

By taking some time to become a more approachable leader, you can show your team members that you are there for them. While there will always be some degree of separation between you and your direct reports, you can help bridge the gap by using the techniques above.

Source: Lolly Daskal is founder and CEO of Lead From Within. She is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers