Ask Me No Questions and I’ll Tell You No Lies
Do you ask your employees what they’re thinking? I’m talking to YOU – Mr. Manager-of-3-people – as well as to YOU – Ms. VP-over-5-divisions-with-500-employees.
Are conversations happening on the shop floor? In the hallway? At regular staff meetings? Or are you lucky if they occur once per year during the annual performance evaluation meeting?
Do you know if your employees:
- have the resources (equipment, supplies, tools) they need to do their job?
- understand HOW their job fits into the organization as a whole?
- believe that they’re receiving adequate feedback, praise or recognition?
- understand WHY they do the things they do and WHY they have to do them in a certain way?
- have dreams, aspirations or goals – job-related or otherwise?
And let’s take a look at that org chart, shall we? If there are lots of lasagne-esque layers between you and someone who ultimately reports to you, is the information freely flowing all the way through the layers of cheese and meat and pasta? From top to bottom, bottom to top and sideways?
Oh sure, I hear you.
“I have an open-door policy; my people know they can come tell me anything.”
“We have a suggestion box!”
“Our managers hold team meetings – usually.”
But do you truly provide the environment where you’re ready and prepared to hear? Are you ‘present’ when the chat starts and the opportunity for conversation begins?
Sometimes the seemingly inconsequential comments provide the most information. And YOU, yes YOU, Mr. Regional-Director-who-just-flew-in, need to be in the moment and ready to listen. Take off your airplane-friendly suitcoat, roll up those sleeves, slip on those steel-toe loafers and get out on the floor. Ask, listen and talk. Don’t wait until the semi-annual 360-degree feedback results are tabulated.
Be real and be yourself.
Open your ears. And please don’t use that ear-trumpet.