In my work developing and enhancing the skills of managers, I have the pleasure of meeting and getting to know many business leaders. It’s refreshing to come across those who are practicing great leadership skills effectively.
I recently met Greg Simeroth of eTech Parts. He employs some of the strategies I teach leaders. I was so impressed with the examples of how he "runs his ship" that I asked for permission to share how they make his work environment such a success.
Inviting employee input is a key component of great leadership. In this first of a four-part series we will look at the importance of inviting input and what that means for employees and businesses.
Invite input. Greg holds regular team meetings to talk about the challenges his team encounters in taking and fulfilling orders. These are dynamic meetings that involve a lot of brainstorming to find the right solution to best serve their clients. He also hosts regular, weekly team meetings to decide how the team chooses to move forward. Greg encourages his team to provide solutions before giving his own input. Team brainstorming lets his employees know their input is valued. In turn, they value him.
So, why is employee input so important?
While it may seem easier at times to go with the status quo, encouraging the free flow of ideas and embracing meaningful change can help transform a good workplace into a great one. Making your employees feel as though their thoughts and opinions are valued by you and your company will bring positive benefits for the rest of your small or medium business. Welcoming employee input can:
1. Improve job satisfaction. Staff members who sense their ideas make a difference will not only feel valued, but also more loyal to the organization.
2. Create a better work environment. Managers and senior staff members may not completely understand the unique challenges that frontline or junior staff face. Employee input can help generate more relevant and responsive policies and procedures to address specific staff, customer, and business needs.
3. Foster service excellence. Staff who work on the frontlines of your organization interact directly with customers and clients, and they are the “face” of your organization. They, better than anyone, understand the value of great customer service. Practical suggestions, therefore, can empower your team with the tools to deliver better value and service to your clients, and elevate your organization’s reputation.
4. Create a sense of fairness. By collectively developing the strategies and work processes staff use every day (rather than just implementing those directed to them from management and senior staff) you’ll promote a more level playing field and avoid creating an “us and them” atmosphere.
5. Inspire industry improvements. A staff that’s encouraged to innovate can be the force that helps build your organization’s reputation as a trail-blazer in the industry.
6. Foster trust. Staff will be more open to sharing thoughts and ideas with a co-worker whom they can rely on and trust, especially with sensitive issues.
Some of the leadership traits that support employee input and result in these benefits are:
1. Show stability. Being able to react rationally to crisis situations will cause your co-workers to view you in a higher regard. Exhibiting stability encourages staff to approach you with feedback, even if it’s about a negative matter.
2. Exhibit leadership. Hiring effective employees will help ensure your credibility as a people leader and will hopefully generate a cohesive team. A team that can work well together will be more willing to share ideas and insights with fellow team members.
3. Be open. Foster communication with staff by keeping them well-informed. If you keep co-workers “in the dark” or hide information from them, they’ll be less inclined to approach you with an important issue or concern.
4. Maintain visibility. Managers who hide behind closed doors create a barrier to colleagues and signal that they’re not open to communication. If you often shut your office door or work at a location that is far from your colleagues, make the effort to visit and chat with them during the day and week.
Greg Simeroth is one example of an inspiring leader. He appreciates the value of employee input. In the second part of this four-part Empowering Your Employees series, we will look at another element of best practices in leadership – be inspiring – and share Simeroth’s example of how he inspires his team.
How do you invite and use employee input? I would love to hear from you!
If you have comments regarding the importance of employee input or would like to see a topic addressed in a future blog or newsletter, email us at Joy@MaximizeYourLeadership.com.
Need help figuring out how to invite and use employee input? Maximize Your Leadership creates and enhances leaders to build dynamic teams and successful businesses. Contact us today!