Last week I talked about challenging your boss. Today I want to discuss how to get employees to speak up. If you create an environment that allows your team to disagree with you, they will be more likely to speak up. But there are times when you need to still be the leader and make the final decision. It may not make you popular, but you are still the leader.
I find that some leaders tend to talk just to hear themselves speak. A leader who makes a difference is the one who shares their vision and ideas with the team in an inspiring way and invites the employees to share their thoughts.
When you open yourself up to hearing from your team, make sure you really are set up to listen. Put your phone on silent, get away from your computer and focus on your team. Too many leaders make the big mistake of ‘acting’ like they are listening, when in fact they are just going through the motions.
By completely focusing on the conversation and trying to avoid cutting people off, you send a message that your employees and their ideas are important.
Watch your facial expressions and body language. You may be saying one thing, but the frown on your face says something else. Take notes, ask questions and don’t jump to the conclusion that their ideas won’t work. The millennial generation likes to work in teams in order to brainstorm ideas and get team buy in… Don’t be that ‘boomer’ boss who likes to pretend they want ‘team buy-in.’
So today reach out to your team and ask for some ideas – I dare you!