Want to Become a Better Leader? Listen to Your Employees

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As a business owner, leader, or CEO it’s hard to get your employees to tell you the whole truth. Who wants to stand up to the man or woman in charge and say, “Hey, your leadership methods aren’t working”?

However, we understand that’s exactly the type of feedback you need, so we want to help you get it. Peter Bregman in a Harvard Business Review wrote, “Knowing how you’re perceived is critically important if you want to increase your influence as a leader.” Then he explained 5 ways to get feedback effectively:

  1. Ask about the future: Many people shy away from any form of confrontation, including giving what they may consider “negative” feedback. Instead of asking what you could have done better, ask what you could do better next time. This way, they won’t feel as though they are critiquing what you did, just offering suggestions for future improvement.
  2. Write everything down: This accomplishes two things. First, it shows you’re really listening and taking into consideration what they are saying. Second, it gives them the chance to think about anything else they might want to say. While you are silently writing, another thought – an important one – may come to their mind.
  3. Tell them you want truly honest feedback: And most importantly why you want it. Explain that you want to be better and you won’t be able to improve without their feedback. Bregman said, “’Don’t be nice,’ you can tell them. ‘Be helpful.’”
  4. Ask more than once: Don’t just ask your employees how you are as a leader as whole. Ask them how you are when you lead specific meetings or spearhead certain projects. By doing so, they will be able to tailor their advice to one scenario and ultimately help you improve overall.
  5. Don’t criticize their criticism: The whole point of asking for feedback is so you can grow and learn from it. If they open up to you and share what you asked them to, and you instantly judge it or try to combat it, they’re never going to want to be honest with you again. It’s important to open the line of communication and let them know that you find their opinions helpful.

Your employees are the ones who sit with you, talk with you, and will ultimately grow with you. They want you to succeed as a leader because that means that the business they work so hard for will continue to thrive. Listen to what they have to say and you’ll soon become the business leader you always wanted to be.

Direct Capital is a small business lender that puts our customers first. That’s why we’re your number one source for business tips, advice, and financing. Come back again to see what else we have in store for you. Or, if you need help growing your business, give us a call at 866-777-0117.

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