In the Mirror: Do You Know How Your Employees Feel About You?

Working toward full transparency with your team.

Employee satisfaction is not only built around workers’ personal fulfilment, but it is also affected by their relationship with their employers. And while a focus on professional development, competitive compensation, and other employee incentives is important, it may be more important to ensure a strong, transparent relationship with your team to increase retention and productivity. As the saying goes, employees don’t leave companies, they leave leaders. According to a Gallup Poll, only 18% of managers demonstrate a high level of talent while managing their team members; moreover, a lack of effective leadership costs corporations up to $550 billion annually.

To help combat these issues, leaders must focus on self-awareness with their own managerial style, as well as how their leadership is received by their employees. Taking a look in the mirror to understand how employees feel about you is the first step in creating leadership transparency in your organization.

Schedule Reoccurring One-on-Ones, Team Building Lunches

Building rapport with employees takes time and continual effort. To create a comfortable working environment where your employees feel free to express feedback, you must first create a culture of communication through reoccurring one-on-ones. Whether weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly, having dedicated time spent with each employee will help grow your working relationship, as well as build rapport with one another. In your meetings, encourage your employees to voice concerns and work out options to address any problems. While it is not a leader’s job to be liked by their employees, they do need to be respected to have a productive team.

Another option a leader can explore is small-group lunches so employees feel like they are heard without the pressure of a one-on-one situation. Each lunch can have a theme or focus to ensure the conversation stays direct and helpful.

Encourage Employees to Utilize HR Representatives

While some leaders may feel they have an effective open-door policy, it can still be a daunting task for staff to completely open up to their bosses about their concerns or complaints. Giving positive feedback is not the same as having to give constructive criticism. To help facilitate conversations to open the lines of communication, consider hosting a meeting or workshop with your employees’ human resource department. HR professionals are meant to bridge the communication gap between employees and employers, and having an open, safe space for employees to voice their opinions goes a long way in building a culture of transparency.

After the meeting, the HR department should meet with the leader to go over a few reoccurring themes or concerns to help the leader understand their employees’ perspective and how to work at becoming better.

Utilize 360-Reviews in Your Organization

While one-on-ones and HR-facilitated meetings are helpful, one of the best ways to create transparency is using a third-party, anonymous review process. These reviews help gather specific information and all-around scores for leaders by questioning subordinates, peers, and senior leaders on effectiveness, communication, and more. By sending questionnaires to three separate groups, the process achieves a more well-rounded evaluation of leaders’ skills and how they are perceived by their employees and colleagues. Usually, each area of focus receives a score, allowing leaders to see their strengths, as well as their blind spots.

After using a 360-review process, it is important to be open to the data without being defensive. Because it is anonymous, it should have more realistic and to-the-point evaluations to help you work at being the best leader you can be for your organization.

Do you know how your employees feel about you? What have you done to create a culture of transparency? Let us know in the comments section below!

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