In the latest episode of the Peak Performance Leadership podcast, host Scott McCarthy delves into the concept of the open door policy in leadership. As a former senior Canadian Army officer and Chief Leadership Officer, McCarthy brings his 20 years of military experience to the table, coupled with insights from world-class guests, to provide listeners with a comprehensive understanding of effective leadership practices. In this episode, he passionately challenges a video that argues against the open door policy, emphasizing its importance in fostering trust, communication, and the growth of high-performing teams.

In this passionate episode, Scott McCarthy makes a persuasive case for the open door policy in leadership. By addressing a video that denounces this approach, McCarthy reinforces the value of trust, communication, and psychological safety within a team. He encourages leaders to actively listen, foster an environment of open dialogue, and empower their team members to challenge assumptions and contribute to the organization’s growth. Through his expertise and insights, McCarthy presents a compelling argument for the indispensable role of an open door policy in leadership.

Timestamped Overview

  • 00:02:38 Leaders say “come talk to me” but reject it.
  • 00:04:15 Manager’s open-door policy should not be doubted.
  • 00:06:51 Establish trust, guide and mentor effectively. (6 words)
  • 00:10:44 Support the podcast by sharing this episode.
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The following is an AI generated transcript which should be used for reference purposes only. It has not been verified or edited to reflect what was actually said in the podcast episode. 


Scott McCarthy [00:00:00]:

You’ve heard it before. You’ve probably even said it yourself. And those words are, my door is always open here for you. Recently, I watched a video which basically went against this whole ideology. And I’m here today to tell you what they said, the rationale behind it, and and why. Frankly, it’s just a load of crap. So let’s dive in, shall we? Are you ready for this? All right, let’s do it. Welcome one, welcome all to the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast, a weekly podcast series dedicated to helping you hit peak performance across the three domains of leadership.

Scott McCarthy [00:00:55]:

Those being leading yourself, leading your team, and leading your organization. This podcast couples my 20 years of military experience as a senior Canadian Army officer with world class guests to bring you the most complete podcast of leadership going. And for more, feel free to check out our And with that, let’s get to the show. Yes, welcome one, welcome all. It is your Chief Leadership Officer, Scott McCarthy. And thanks for tuning in to the latest and greatest episode. And today I’m probably going to go hard, I’m probably going to go fast because this is a topic that’s just I feel like I need to get off my chest.

Scott McCarthy [00:01:49]:

And I was kind of hunting around for topics and this one just kept coming up to me that just like, I got to address this. I cannot let my community go on. If they see this video, think that this is right or this is how to think. So I’m just going to dive in today. I’m not going to give you any preamble. I’m not going to give you any marketing or anything like that. We’re just going to dive into straight to the content, the goods today. So what is the video? Okay, so you heard in the intro there, I talked briefly about the whole concept of, hey, my door is always open for you.

Scott McCarthy [00:02:38]:

And that is a common saying from leaders and managers, right? Team leads, team managers, whatever. And what they’re trying to do is say, hey, if you got a problem, you need some advice, you need some guidance, come on in and we can chat about it. Now, I was watching a video. I was relaxing with my phone, just like, no doubt you do flipping through some videos and reels and stuff. And this one caught my eye, and it was another podcast interviewing, and they were talking about just this. But this was what they were saying, and it blew my mind. I actually watched it like three or four times. So the person talking was saying that when a manager says that, don’t do it, which I thought was interesting.

Scott McCarthy [00:03:32]:

And here is their rationale behind it. They believe it’s a trap. The whole Star Wars meme, it’s a trap, right? Well, that’s how they were seeing it. Their thought process was that if you go into your manager’s office, your leader’s office, and you start complaining about things. The premise of their argument was that, that now gives your team manager HR, basically your supervisors ammunition to get rid of you. And they’re like, never do it. Don’t quit and don’t complain. Keep it to yourself.

Scott McCarthy [00:04:15]:

And it just blew my mind. I’m like, what kind of workplace have you been in to think this way? Like if a manager says that my door is always open for you, you got to believe that’s actually true, that they’re there to discuss problems with you, to hear your side of the story, to hear your ideas, to clarify any direction and guidance that was given not to basically turn around and blade you and stab you in the back and try to get rid of you. They were saying that, oh, it shows that you’re not on the team. Well, again, I disagree with that. The fact is you are actually more with the team if you do go ahead and point out a flaw or point out a problem because you care enough to actually bring it forward. You care enough to bring it forward and either look for explanation, clarification or to push your ideas forward to help the betterment of the organization as a whole. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t waste your time. So that to me sounds like inexperience and someone who basically has had a negative experience themselves talking and saying basically that this is the rule.

Scott McCarthy [00:05:59]:

Now let’s talk about this whole ideology. My door is always open for you. I think it’s a great one overall. Now that being said, it can get abused. Someone can consistently just constantly come into your office and suck up your time. So you do at times need to put boundaries. And one great way to put boundaries in is have you tried to solve this problem yourself? If the answer is no, then you say, okay, well, go away and try to solve the problem yourself. They come back with the same problem again, you go, okay, have you talked to your peers? So as you see, I’m adding different layers of boundaries between me and the person who’s constantly coming to me with their problems.

Scott McCarthy [00:06:51]:

Right now, if it is a significant issue, of course you want them to come. You need to listen to what it is that they’re saying, what they have. But again, you will know if the person is just coming to vent or if they’re coming to try to get basically some more insight on what to do without actually doing anything themselves. So this is your way to basically guide and mentor them by not necessarily having your door open, but rather pushing them out and telling them and showing them when it is appropriate to come back. So how is it that you establish basically ideology that enables your team to come to your door and not think about these horrible things? That enables your team to actually trust you? That you’re not going to turn around and quote, unquote, report them to HR or start developing a file to get rid of you, and that is developing psychological safety within the team. Again, Tim Clark’s, episode 128. Okay, 128. If you listen to that episode, there’s four stages.

Scott McCarthy [00:08:12]:

Psychological safety. Stage one, belonger safety. Stage two, learner safety. Stage three, contributor safety. Stage four, challenger safety. So when we talk about my door is always open for you, it’s basically you’re trying to hit all four stages, but really what you’re saying to them is stage three. And stage four, I want you to contribute. I want you to push for your ideas.

Scott McCarthy [00:08:38]:

I want you to challenge the ideas of the status quo of the organization. I e stage four. Okay. And this is what peak performing teams do. These are what high performing teams do. They challenge the status quo. They challenge the ideas. They go and challenge what it is, the plan is, and what the desired outcomes are, okay? That is what high performing teams do.

Scott McCarthy [00:09:09]:

What they don’t do is turn around and report people to HR because someone is challenging the status quo or what was said or what the idea is or what the plan is. This is ludicrous in my mind. I cannot imagine someone be so naive to think that having your door open is a bad thing and telling people not to do it. Okay? There is no doubt. Yes, there are some evil people out there. Hence the whole tagline lead. Don’t boss. Yes.

Scott McCarthy [00:09:43]:

What he’s saying? He’s completely and utterly depicting a boss with this whole video that he put out there. But you’re not that person. You’re a leader. And leaders listen to their people. They actively listen. They listen to understand. They don’t listen to respond. No doubt, that’s what you do on a daily basis.

Scott McCarthy [00:10:08]:

So, ladies and gentlemen, this is it. Keep your door open. Keep telling your people that your door is open. Enable them to come to you. Sure, put up some boundaries. That’s completely and utterly acceptable and should be done. But the moral story is this enable your people to come to you at any time. And that is my point today.

Scott McCarthy [00:10:44]:

And that’s a wrap for this episode, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening. Thank you for supporting the peak Performance Leadership podcast. But you know what you could do to truly support the podcast? And no, that’s not leaving a rating and review. It’s simply helping a friend. And that is helping a friend by sharing this episode with them. If you think this would resonate with them and help them elevate their performance level, whether that’s within themselves, their teams, or their organization, so do that. Help me help a friend win win all around.

Scott McCarthy [00:11:19]:

And hey, you look like a great friend at the same time. So just hit that little share button on your app and then feel free to fire this episode to anyone that you feel would benefit from it. Finally, there’s always more there’s always more lessons around being the highest performing leader that you can possibly be, whether that’s for yourself, your team, or your organization. So why don’t you subscribe subscribe to the show via subscribe until next time. Lead don’t boss. And thanks for coming out. Take care now. Bye.