“In the past a leader was a boss. Today leaders must be partners with their people. They no longer can lead based on positional power.” ~Ken Blanchard
"Truly great leaders spend as much time collecting and acting upon feedback as they do providing it." ~Alexander Lucia
Being accessible for your staff is the first step in getting feedback. After all, if they can’t find you, they can’t tell you what they think. Good managers make themselves available to their staff so that when the moment strikes when an employee wants to talk to you about something you can seize it. GREAT managers set themselves up to encourage those feelings of sharing amongst their team. Feedback is the breakfast of champions when it comes to management and here are six tricks of the trade from great managers:
Walk around and engage about work: Great managers check in on their staff regularly throughout the day. The key is to not only engage your team with talk about last night’s football game, but to engage them about work related things as well. How’s that account doing? Any problems putting together that report? Has the marketing team been getting you what you need? Talking to your staff is fine, but opening the door to their feedback reaps amazing results.
Take care of things when they are brought to you: A great manager takes care of things and takes care of them quickly. If you are a resource to your team, they will come to you with a VERY wide array issues/concerns. Dealing with issues your team brings to you always should get a high priority. Great managers understand the power of this on morale, support, and overall performance.
Sit out in the cubes occasionally: It is INCREDIBLE what you can learn from sitting out amongst your staff and working on your own things for even half a day. You’ll learn how they interact with other departments, what they find most frustrating, who is struggling, and who they all go to with questions. 100% of the time, this is a learning experience for you.
One on ones: Great managers leverage one on ones to gather information about the employee, the department, and the company. Many employees find these one on ones to be a safer place to voice their ideas than in public, so this tackles the shy group.
Monthly group meetings: On the flip-side of the above are those times when members of your team feel more comfortable voicing ideas when they have back-up in the form of fellow teammates whom they know hold the same opinion (because they have talked about it already). These can turn into fantastic brainstorming sessions if you focus and control the discussion onto ideas and solutions.
Let people know where you are going in the day: It seems simple, but I can’t tell you how many times this simple courtesy has led to important feedback. The fact you are going to be gone for a period of time often puts pressure on your team to bring up a topic, and with that pressure they do. It’s for this reason that I actually try to leave five minutes before I need to since I usually get stopped.
Making yourself available to support your team is essential, but taking a proactive role to encourage feedback can make an enormous impact on your management effectiveness. Imagine if you implemented all six of the above techniques over the next few weeks. Would you accessibility increase? Would the feedback you received from your staff increase? Of course it would….so go out there and try it.
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