Doors and Hinges


The Problem with Saying “My Door Is Always Open” by Megan Reitz and John Higgins
Harvard Business Review, March 9, 2017

In a brief article, Megan Reitz and John Higgins share their research on communication between people at different levels within an organization. While people in higher positions may genuinely want to hear from other people, including their critical feedback, having an open door policy is not enough to overcome the subtle pressures and barriers preventing them from sharing feedback. Based on research interviewing executives, Reitz and Higgins suggest taking an honest look at current methods for receiving feedback within your organization, including asking yourself whether or not you want it at all. Such reflection can reveal important subtlety. Is it expected, for example, that people visit your office? If so, what might that feel like for them? As noted in the article, “if we are in a powerful position, we often take power for granted [and] forget what it is like to be in the less privileged out-group.” Taking the view from the other side helps to remove barriers that you may not know exist. Additionally, there is further value if we extrapolate to the view of students visiting teachers, as some students will feel these unnoticed barriers even more acutely.

Submitted By: Matthew Troutman, Ed.M. Candidate, Klingenstein Center, New York, NY

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