As managers and leaders, it’s important to know how your employees think about you, your business, and your leadership style. Without feedback, you may continue to do or say things that frustrate your team, cause turnover, or produce stagnation within your workforce.
Leaders who take the time to listen and act upon employee feedback make for better managers. Research shows that leaders who make their team members feel important and cared for can significantly increase employee morale and produce a better work environment.
The biggest challenge and frustration for managers is how to collect authentic feedback from employees without making them feel anxious or pressured. Establishing a culture where employees feel safe sharing their opinions can help break through a ton of barriers as well as help inform you, as a manager, about what is working, and what isn’t. Considering this, here are some ways you can utilize employee feedback to become a better leader.
Conduct Employee Polls or Surveys
The best way to become a better leader is to take heed of employee feedback. One option for doing so is by using polling software for meetings. Polling can be used in many different contexts, but it’s a goldmine for getting answers about employee experiences. Live polls can be used during live events or meetings as a way to increase employee engagement. Employee polling can even strengthen your team.
Maybe you’ve been in meetings filled with the same few people that always have their hands up. It’s not uncommon for one or two people to contribute over and over again, even if everyone else is sitting back and waiting for a chance to speak up. That’s why polls are so great, because anyone can express their ideas in a meeting, and do so anonymously if preferred. And having anonymous submissions give you a broader, more detailed set of data that could help find patterns and predict trends within your business.
On the other hand, surveys are similar yet different from employee polling strategies. They still provide a way for employees to register thoughts while remaining anonymous, which is a good thing. However, surveys can be incredibly inert and sterile. They don’t always have the flexibility of polling software capabilities. Surveys can also be monotonous for employees unwilling to take yet another boring survey. But surveys are still useful in retaining valuable information. In light of all this, consider limiting employee surveys to special dates, such as once a year, new-hires, or upon resignation.
Schedule Regular Team Meetings
Team meetings are critical for listening to employees and therefore becoming a better leader. Instead of a manager making decisions on their own, the entire team gets to participate in what needs to be done. Even when there’s a small difference being made, this creates a much higher level of engagement since employees are getting a chance to actually feel like their opinions can make a difference.
As a manager, you likely understand that your duties often fall to others, but how they approach their jobs and how they delegate tasks can definitely influence how happy the team is. Therefore, making an effort to talk about delegations, responsibilities, and duties in a group meeting. This can significantly enhance a sense of community and equality. Furthermore, team meetings help employees feel less constrained if they have some input into the running of the workplace and how it operates.
Work Shoulder-to-Shoulder With Your Team Members
Great leaders work shoulder-to-shoulder with their employees to help make sure that happens. Taking the time to work with employees on a one-on-one basis can be a great way for leaders to get to know them personally. It gives you the chance to establish rapport and see what their jobs entail. Managers may also find that procedures they thought were always helpful are maybe not as optimal when put into practice. As a manager, you might also see roadblocks your teams encounter and potential resources that need to be improved.
Research shows that there is often a disconnect between individual leaders’ visions and their organizations’ strategic directions. In fact, only around 25% of employees think their manager’s vision aligns with the organization. The reason for this opinion could be lack of support and/or communication throughout the leadership chain. Or, it could be related to managers becoming removed from what’s going on in the trenches. This is why it’s important to spend time working with your team in the nitty-gritty action scenes of doing business every day.
There are many ways for managers to perfect their skills, but honest employee feedback is invaluable. Staff polling, in-person work sessions, and team meetings are all ways managers can collect feedback and open up lines of communication. As they take staff suggestions into consideration, leaders get better turned on to the needs of the team.