Why You Should Put Your Feet On Your Desk

Formal conversations promote guarded fakery and artificial relationships. Team members put on their professional faces.

Recently, a team member explained how a business owner made it safe to connect.

Feet on the desk:

I was surprised to hear a team member explain the power of the boss putting his feet on the desk. The message was, “Hey, we’re having a real conversation.” Of course, there were other factors that promoted connection, not the least of which is this leader doesn’t like the term boss.

Along with putting his feet on the desk, this leader consistently provides opportunities for team members to engage in self-reflection. Additionally, he listens to answers. In other words, putting your feet on the desk – by itself – won’t ignite relatedness or promote engagement.

It takes time and intention for leaders to overcome the gap that power and position naturally create.

The leader with his feet on the desk is also:

  1. Authentic.
  2. Vulnerable.
  3. Open.
  4. Curious.
  5. Transparent.

Overcoming distance:

Recurring conversations create an environment where people flourish through connection.

Recurring conversations:

  1. Prioritize relatedness.
  2. Promote fulfillment.
  3. Elevate engagement.
  4. Strengthen alignment. Recurring conversations enable teams to harmoniously row in the same direction.

Note: coaching is an essential ingredient in this organization. The leader I’m describing has been coached and, more importantly, continues to hone his coaching skills.

How might leaders have conversations that enable team members to flourish?

How does gender impact the idea of putting your feet on the desk?