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10 Tips To Get Employee Input

If you are of the opinion that nobody knows the answer better than you, then you might disagree with the premise of this article.

There are certainly people who think they are smarter than everyone else, and they will discount all opinions beyond their own.

There are people who will only accept input, advice or opinion from a certain group of people that they trust.  While that is better than thinking they have all the answers themselves, it is still an artificial limit on potentially valuable input.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller

I believe that there are always multiple views on any given situation, and if you only look at it one way then you are missing an opportunity.

You do not need to agree with everyone who provides input … but you really should give it serious consideration.  Even if one small aspect of their argument gives you pause, then you have received value.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” Ryunosuke Satoro

One of the fairly standard approaches of new leaders (or leaders new to their position) is to gather input from as many people as possible.  It might be part of a 90 or 100 day plan, or something less formal.  It might involve talking to fellow executives and managers, or more valuable is to include conversation with the people actually “doing the job”.

Leaders, by nature will have egos, but ego should never factor into doing the right thing.

If you are a leader (new or old) make sure that you take advantage of the collective brainpower in your organization.  The breadth of thinking, the differences in opinion and the multiple views will provide valuable information from which you can make informed decisions.

10 ideas to gather valuable information from your team:

  1. Create both formal and informal means of getting input.

  2. Act on the information … it does not mean you need to implement every idea, but people need to know you listened.

  3. Try “Ideas boxes” … they can be physical or electronic, just a means for anonymous feedback (sometimes needed).

  4. Build time into your schedule for staff meetings … group lunches, individual chats, coffee with the boss.

  5. Ask good questions.

  6. Listen … and be seen to be listening!

  7. Give information back … people want to know what you are thinking, where the company (division) is going, what management thinks.

  8. Involve your fellow executive/managers … from all areas of the business.

  9. Give credit to people who have good ideas … never take credit yourself!

  10. Encourage people to talk to you … open door management.

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” Henry Ford

If you think you have all the answers you will quickly find yourself alone … and that is not a good place to be!