After reading about what happened to HP CEO Mark Hurd a few weeks ago, I wanted to get around to writing about smart, yet easily forgotten, protective practices at an office or workplace. As a leader, both immense responsibility and intrusive surveillance comes along with a high profile title. These are some suggested practices to always be aware of in order to avoid being in a situation like Hurd has got himself into (whether it's fact or fiction):
- Don't have your own personal office. You're a member of the company, right? It has become common practice for business leaders and CEOs of today to work in a cubicle alongside everyone else. This elevates productivity and heightens confidence levels around the office.
- If you do need your own office, take off the door. Nothing is too private and confidential to not be shared with the entire company. If te opposite is the case, you might be running a sketchy and questionable business (That's another issue altogether). Not having a door to interfere with direct communication from the rest of your employees not only holds you more accountable to what's going on out on the floor, but allows you to be more readily available to the people that work for you.
- If you can't remove the door, just always leave it open. Employees get anxious and worrisome when a boss calls an employee into their personal office. "Are they in trouble? What are they going to know that I don't know?" This isn't very good for morale.
- If you can't do any of the above, make sure others are present during private meetings. This is overlooked too often. As a boss, it's inappropriate and dangerous to hold a meeting with a female employee privately in your office. No matter the gender and no matter the topic of discussion, it's always best to invite fellow Executives and employees into the meeting. That way, there's never any question as to what took place behind closed doors.