Being approachable is all about being friendly and easy to talk to. Why is this important? Because it helps build connections and relationships — which helps build trust and mutual understanding. And if you are a team or organization leader, it is important for instilling a culture of open communication.

Body language has a lot of influence over how approachable we come across to others — standing or sitting up straight, smiling, and maintaining eye contact all are invitations to engage; crossed arms or looking at an electronic device sends a “don’t bother me” message. Once engaged in conversation, it’s important to be open, curious, warm, and to show genuine interest in the person you’re talking with.

How approachable are you?

This week’s Challenge: This week, I will be mindful of my body language to show that I am approachable.

Avoiding being Permissive (overuse): Being approachable doesn’t mean you always agree or defer to others. You may genuinely agree in some cases, or you may defer to another’s wishes because it’s not an issue that’s important to you. But when you do so to an excessive degree, you’re no longer in balance.

You can tell when you’ve gone to far when you recognize a misalignment in your thoughts and feelings versus your words and actions, or if you start to feel resentful of others taking advantage of you. At that point, it’s time to reassert your individuality and opinions, and to realize that you can — and should — both be approachable and be authentic.

Commendable Trait: Approachable
Underused: Unapproachable
Overused: Permissive
Strength: Likability
Quadrant: Humanity

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