Leadership: Listen to your team

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Q. How do I know I’m leading my staff in a manner that fosters loyalty and commitment to the company’s mission and goals?

A. Determining what your team thinks of you as a leader is not an easy task. It requires getting honest and constructive feedback about your strengths, weaknesses and areas of improvement, as well as their needs. Therefore, they need to feel safe in their ability to be truthful in their opinions without fear of repercussions. You also need to be the person who can hear the good, bad and the ugly, and use it to improve and not “search” out those who made comments that hurt your ego. One way to gain this information is to do an anonymous survey using platforms like Survey Monkey, Google Forms, Survey Gizmo, Zoho Survey, etc. To get started, I find the 360-degree feedback survey to be a good source of questions in gaining information on your effectiveness as a leader as viewed by others. You will gain the knowledge you need to be a better leader by discovering where you stand based on your employees’ perceptions and their insights on areas that need professional development.

An alternative to, or in combination with, the survey is to use a consultant/business adviser to interview members of your team. Prior to taking this route, those being interviewed need to be assured that nothing they say will be used against them. They need to be protected from any negative outcomes from their comments. 

It is never easy to receive negative responses regarding your performance. Read the information multiple times to help you move from the emotional to the logical/analytical response when reviewing the scores/comments. Be honest with yourself about your weaknesses, do some “business soul searching” and use this information to enhance your leadership abilities. By listening to your team, you will improve your team’s loyalty, reduce turnover and improve profitability. 

Sarah Hanna is CEO of ECS North. Reach her at sarahhanna@ecsbillingnorth.com, 419-448-5332 ext. 102.