Leaders don’t always realize the impact they have on others. This is often caused by not adapting their conscious behavior. Let me give you an example. A closed office, desk furniture and assorted memorabilia can often become a safe haven for leaders. They have reached a level of seniority that means they can create their own corporate “man/woman caves”. In their caves, they surround themselves with artifacts that remind them of their achievements. They personalize their space with pictures of family, vacations, sporting heroes, artificial flowers, etc. Lastly, these “man/woman caves” can be locked when the inhabitant doesn’t want anyone to enter.
Maybe the example above is foreign to the organization you work in. It does however still exist in many corporate and non-profit organizations today.
So what? You may ask. Well quite often our surroundings can have an impact on the way we behave. The “man/woman cave” can create a degree of positional power that impacts the behavior and language of the inhabitant. When a junior member of staff enters the cave, they sometimes meet an occupant who connects with them from the trappings of their territory. This might come across as detached, superior, or “count yourself privileged that are in the presence of someone who has earned the right to higher status”. I remember seeing one office that looked like a museum – it was lined wall to wall with books and other paraphernalia … I hate to think what the impact would be on the occupant if the corporate office were transformed into open-plan!
Leaders shouldn’t regard offices as a place of status, rather a practical convenience. And always look for opportunities to pull up a chair from behind that desk or meet in another place – reducing the barriers between you and others. Leaders are often admired when the distance between them and others becomes invisible.