mind your business: Why Feedback is Your Key to Winning
However, it takes more than listening to get the kind of feedback an effective leader needs. Many workplace surveys will tell you that employees don't believe their leader is genuinely listening most of the time.
One typical employee survey may ask the question, "If your supervisor could improve in one area that would make a difference in your work performance, what should it be?" Among numerous answers, a common one stood out: "Value my opinion enough to look at me and listen whenever I am trying to tell you something. I could save you from a lot of trouble." When the person who leads us doesn't listen to us, we can sense it—and we don't like it.
How we do we turn that attitude around? How do you create an environment where you are getting consistent and candid feedback? There are three leadership skills that are essential. Without them, you will always be working with half truths and misinformation. With them, you will become proactive, anticipating challenges and opportunities before everyone else, and your reputation as a leader who develops followers will soar.
1. Stop, drop and listen.
When an associate is talking with you, don't be multitasking. Stop whatever you are doing and listen. A director in a major urban hospital was accused of frequently checking his email and text messages while meeting with his team. He agreed for one week to keep the phone in his pocket or on the desk and look right at his associate and just listen.
The results within a week were staggering. Countless team members commented on how much they appreciated his new behavior. But, more importantly, one associate who is usually reticent to share much told him of an impending problem that would have been catastrophic for the hospital. Merely giving his undivided attention proved invaluable to his business.