Have you ever heard the phrase, “It doesn’t matter if you think you are a good communicator- if other people don’t think you are a good communicator, you’re not”?
Hint: It’s a common theme in many of our other blogs.
The concept is that if you are not able to properly convey your communication skills, then it is apparent that your communication is lacking. The same is true when it comes to employee culture. You are only able to successfully lead your team if your perception of their experiences is in line with their actual experiences in the office.
Why Gather Feedback?
Feedback is crucial, because it is impossible to have the full picture when you are only viewing from your own perspective. Sometimes a situation can look great from the top floor, when in reality your employees are unhappy or have concerns. It’s important to bring those feelings to light by probing for feedback from each individual. Maybe you have redesigned the office with an open floor plan to promote team building and collaboration. This seems to be great for the majority, except that one of your employees feels he or she can’t approach other coworkers for help with projects because everyone is wearing headphones. Rather than sharing this dilemma, the employee may opt to work alone, which is counter-productive to the environment you were trying to build with the chosen floor plan.
How to Gather Feedback
The easiest way to acquire this valuable input, is simply to ask. Encourage your employees by creating an easy pathway for them to provide feedback. Aside from the “my door is always open” policy, consider implementing anonymous surveys or suggestion boxes, or conducting a 360 Leadership Assessment. Topic-specific feedback requests will generate even more response from your team. For example, let your team know that this year’s surplus is going towards renovating their department, and ask them what changes they would like to see with their space. Asking for targeted feedback will make your employees feel more involved, and may also pull more answers than an open-ended invitation to critique.
More important than acquiring the feedback itself, is ensuring the consistency of following through with the feedback you receive. If you fail to acknowledge the feedback or make changes as a result of it, you will erode employee trust. No one will continue to offer feedback if they feel that it’s a futile exercise. Even better than telling your team, is showing them how their feedback will be implemented through clear plans and timelines. Make it public knowledge on your website or internal newsletter.
The more feedback that you receive as a leader, the better you will be at making decisions that promote a healthy work environment for your company.