Ask, Listen, and Act

Excerpt from the article

11. Ask For Employee Input And Listen

Managers can build trust with their employees by asking them for input and taking the time to listen to their thoughts and ideas. Making team members feel valued and heard creates an open and approachable environment that enables employees to feel greater trust. –Rochelle Cooper, Success Leaders

___________________________________________________

We all want to be heard, but we also need to feel like our voice is both welcomed and appreciated. As a leader, have you directly asked your employees to provide their feedback pertaining to an existing process, policy, or service your department provides? Have you asked them how you can better help them be more successful? You should.

Harvard Business Review’s Leadership Practice Inventory has been completed by well over a million people. This tool provides individuals and organizations a way to measure their leadership competencies. One of the lowest scoring questions on the assessment was “(He or she) asks for feedback on how his/her actions affect other people’s performance.” The million plus respondents would appear to be trying to tell us something.

By actively seeking the thoughts, feedback, and perspectives of your employees, you are doing much more than initiating a conversation. You are simultaneously inviting them to engage. Welcoming employee feedback, listening, and acting on the feedback you receive, is the first step in fostering active employee engagement. Why? Because it develops trust. Bottom line, to have an engaged workforce, trust must be prevalent. To build trust, you need to ask your employees tough questions, listen to truly understand, and most importantly, act on the feedback you receive.

So, what are some options to initiate the collection of feedback? One effective mechanism is to volunteer to participate in a 360 review. In a 360 review, your leader, peers, and some of your employees are given the opportunity to review your performance. This can be a very enlightening and mind-opening experience if you truly remain engaged. Whatever the results may be, make it a point to follow-up with your raters and ask for any clarification or specifics you may need.

Another option is to turn the traditional review process on its head. Ask each of your employees to review your performance. Hand them the form you will use for their next evaluation and ask them to assess your performance. What you hear back may be a little difficult to swallow, but simply asking will help to foster the development of trust amongst your team. Be certain to discuss the feedback you received with each of the employees who provided it.

Stepping away from asking for personal feedback, why not ask your team for feedback regarding your departments current processes and policies. You could certainly do this on an individual basis, but you can also facilitate this in a group setting as well. Using ideation techniques like brainwriting, brainwalking, and questionstorming, you can effectively act, listen, and collect the thoughts and ideas of your employees. Consider a challenge your department currently faces and use one of these tools to collect your team’s suggestions. With suggestions in hand, take some time to delve in deeper and see if a solution to the existing challenge was discovered. Whether the ideation session worked out or not, be sure to follow up with your team to close the loop. Congratulate them if the ideas discussed led to a solution. Be sure to provide details if it did not. Regardless of the result, the specifics must be communicated.

Tools and methodology are important, but they are just a piece of the puzzle. The most important foundation for a team is trust. Trust leads to engagement which in turn leads to happy employees who stay. All of this can be nurtured by frequently asking for employee feedback, actively listening to what is said, and ensuring that you act upon what you hear.

If you would like to pursue the completion of a 360 review or set up an ideation workshop for your team, please contact LLD. We are always happy to assist.

-Scot

Forbes. (2021, April 9). 12 Techniques For Fostering Two-Way Trust With Employees. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2021/04/09/12-techniques-for-fostering-two-way-trust-with-employees/?sh=4ec745853a33

Harvard Business Review. (2014, February 27). To Get Honest Feedback, Leaders Need to Ask. https://hbr.org/2014/02/to-get-honest-feedback-leaders-need-to-ask

Inc. (2021, March 31). Forget Brainstorming. Try Questionstorming. https://www.inc.com/melina-palmer/forget-brainstorming-try-questionstorming.html

Make Use Of (2020, August 10). How to Use the 6-3-5 Brainwriting Technique for More Efficient Brainstorming Sessions https://www.makeuseof.com/635-brainwriting-technique-for-more-efficient-brainstorming/

Click Here for Printable Version

News & Articles

Covenant Health