Being a good leader doesn’t happen by luck. It happens because those individuals have a strong sense of self-awareness, and seek input and feedback from not just their boss and their peers, but even more importantly, their employees.
I always urge leaders to try this if it’s not part of the way they work, and they’re often surprised by how honest and considerate the feedback is that they get.
But the work doesn’t stop there.
As a leader, when your employees share their thoughts, your work is just beginning.
Communicate on How and Why You're Taking Action
This is the time when you need to take action on their feedback. No matter whether you plan to implement their suggestions or not, you need to close the loop with employees to let them know one of three things:
1. You’re implementing their solution, and the rationale
2. You’re implementing a modified version of their suggestion, and the rationale for that
3. You’re not planning to implement their solution, and the rationale for that
In all cases, you cover the “what” – what you plan to do, and then the “why.” This helps employees know how you think (what guides your decision making), which allows them to think more like you in the future. It also might open a conversation for how others might ask you to think differently about a specific problem or opportunity.
Finally, when you communicate about the solution, don’t forget to mention where the idea came from and recognize the employee for their valuable perspective.
Taking Action on Feedback Engages Employees
When employees know their input is heard and valued they will be more willing to share their feedback in the future. They will also feel more engaged when they know their thoughts and insights are valued.
Put yourself in your employee’s shoes. If you feel like your important thoughts are being heard and making a difference, wouldn’t you be more likely to give a little extra effort, to be more loyal? Wouldn’t you be a bit more engaged?
Soliciting employee feedback is one thing, but the proof that you take it seriously comes from taking action.
What opportunities do you have today to listen and take action on employee feedback?
Click below to download—The Leader Differential: 5 Steps to Thrive—and get essential tips for connecting and communicating with employees to achieve measurable, meaningful growth.