The old Charlie Rich song was talking about the “benefits” of closed doors — especially in the realm of relationships. However, in business, closed doors are often more trouble than they are worth.
When a leader takes someone behind closed doors on campus, it can create a flurry of speculation — rarely good speculation.
A closed door brings a sense of negativity. When a team member is taken behind closed doors, other team members tend to wonder what is wrong, or who is in trouble?
Closed doors often provide the breeding ground for rumors and miscommunication.
I remember a closed-door meeting I had with a team member that really had nothing to do with work. It was a personal discussion that was initiated by the team member. We closed the door to ensure privacy.
When the door opened, we both had to deal with others asking if the company was alright, or if someone was about to be fired.
Steve Jobs rarely got things right when it came to handling his people. In fact, many at Apple feared his trips through the building, as he was apt to berate an employee in front of the entire place.
However, there were occasions where Jobs asked key players to “take a walk” with him. It was during these walks that great and mighty plans were made.
Instead of taking a team member behind closed doors for an important private meeting, it might be a good idea to take them off campus — when possible.
You would be surprised how well that works, both for that team member, and the rest of the team.