Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions.

by : 
Kim Perkins
October 1, 2012

Question: I’ve read about the benefits of having an “open door” management style, and I really want to do that. But, if I leave my door open for anyone to walk in whenever they want, won’t I spend my day talking rather than doing my job?

Answer: Communication does take time, but solving problems and talking things through is an important part of your job. In fact, it may be the most important part for a functional, productive workplace. Happy employees are such a valuable asset! You truly can make time to converse and not feel rushed.

If employees line up to talk to you, take a moment to reflect on why that is. Once you address and solve issues, and your staff knows they have access to you and can count on you, things will settle down, even if there is a lot of interaction at first. If you try this for a few weeks and there are still too many interruptions for you to complete other job tasks, consider hiring a manager, becoming the manager full-time and hiring someone to perform your other functions, or setting boundaries so you are available Tuesday and Thursday for open discussion and by appointment the other days.

Kim Perkins is co-owner of Elysian Fields Books & Gifts for Conscious Living (, an award-winning store in Sarasota, Fla. Send your retail questions to