Cultivating a successful team within an organization shouldn’t solely involve dictating your employees’ actions and giving them orders. As a leader, you do need to maintain a degree of authority over your employees, but it’s also beneficial to give them an opportunity to provide you with feedback, participate in key discussions, and share their ideas.
There are several reasons why listening to your team is essential to your long-term success. The following are just a few noteworthy examples to keep in mind:
They may have valuable ideas.
The odds are good that some of your employees have insights and perspectives from which the team, department, and company would benefit. It’s essential that you use them and don’t underestimate their value. Avoid making the mistake of assuming that only you and the organization’s other major decision-makers have all the best ideas about how the business should operate.
After all, although every team is different, lower-level employees are typically more involved in individual tasks than team leaders. A director or supervisor’s job is to manage projects and ensure that employees complete the necessary tasks to achieve a larger goal. As a result, they may not be able to develop a full understanding of certain details about projects to the same degree as those who are directly involved.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to arrange regular times when employees can provide suggestions for improving operations. How you solicit their advice will depend on what process is most convenient for you and your employees. For instance, you might request that individuals who have ideas that they’d like to contribute send them to you in an e-mail at the end of the week. You could also invite team members to participate in meetings where strategy is discussed. Alternatively, you can meet one-on-one with each person once a month and ask them if they have any insights they’d like to offer. The goal is to find a way to consistently get team members to share their thoughts without wasting too much time. You might need to experiment with different methods before determining which process is most effective.
They will feel more engaged.
Increasing and sustaining engagement among your team should be one of your top goals. When employees are invested, they work more productively, are less likely to take jobs elsewhere, and become motivated to help the organization succeed. This is another reason why it’s important to listen to employees and provide them with regular opportunities to offer feedback. Surveys and research studies consistently indicate that employees tend to participate more when they feel that team leaders listen to their thoughts, ideas, and complaints.
This is particularly true among top performers. A team’s strongest members tend to be ambitious people, and they appreciate knowing that they have opportunities to share their observations and advance their position in the organization. If they don’t believe that their voice and opinions are being heard, they’ll likely become disengaged. You could waste your most valuable talent if this happens.
They may become more productive.
Few people would claim that leading a team is easy. You know what your main goals are and what steps need to be taken to achieve them. However, your ability to address them yourself is limited, and it’s not feasible to tackle all the necessary tasks on your own. Distributing the workload and relying on your team to handle some key tasks is essential. That said, it can be challenging to make progress if an employee isn’t working as efficiently or productively as you expected.
There are instances when this occurs because a person isn’t invested in in their job. It’s best to accept the fact that some employees aren’t as committed as others. Depending on the severity of their apathy, disciplinary action might be required.
However, it’s important to remember that individuals whose performance doesn’t meet your expectations could be struggling for reasons that have nothing to do with lack of dedication. For example, perhaps an ambitious team member overestimated their abilities and took on more responsibilities than they could handle. Their productivity would likely suffer as a result. Fortunately, by listening to your employees on a regular basis, you will have more opportunities to find out if their workload is too heavy, if they don’t have the right tools to complete their tasks efficiently, or if some aspect of their work schedule is leading to reduced productivity. You can then take the appropriate actions to address the situation. Engagement will also improve when you do so.
There are numerous other reasons why listening to your employees is valuable. As a team leader, you can improve your company’s culture and bottom line by giving your employees an opportunity to share their thoughts.