Let’s be honest, bosses don’t always have the answers. Sure, these individuals are usually effective leaders and extremely knowledgeable in their fields. However, they aren’t robots; and sometimes, they rely on suggestions and opinions from their staff to improve productivity.
Unfortunately, some bosses have the attitude that only their opinion counts. They trust their employees to complete assignments. But at the end of the day, their opinion is the only one that matters with regard to other details. This attitude is dangerous in the workplace, as it can contribute to an unhealthy boss-employee relationship.
Therefore, not only should you recognize the importance of your employees’ opinion, they should feel that you value their opinions and suggestions. How can you do this ?
1. Be attentive as they share their opinions
This may seem like common sense, but if you’re juggling a lot of assignments, you may develop a bad habit of focusing on other things as people speak to you. In your mind, you’re multi-tasking. However, the other person might feel that you’re not interested in what they’re saying. Therefore, if your employee schedules a meeting to share his opinions, give him your undivided attention. Maintain good eye contact, and ask that you’re not interrupted. If you barely glance at the person while he speaks, or if you’re typing on your computer or dealing with other paperwork during the meeting, the employee will feel that you don’t value their opinion.
2. Share opinions with the group
Give credit where credit is due. Therefore, if an employee makes a suggestion that can benefit the team or office, offer commendation and share this information with other employees. During team meetings, discuss how to possibly implement an idea and request feedback from everyone. If you put effort into executing a suggestion, as opposed to pushing ideas aside, employees will be more willing to offer their opinions.
3. Explain why an idea isn’t practical
There is no rule that says you have to agree with every employee opinion. Even if an employee is passionate about a suggestion, some ideas simply aren’t practical or efficient. If you rudely dismiss an opinion, the employee may feel that you don’t value his thoughts. However, if you offer an explanation highlighting reasons why you can’t use a particular suggestion, this shows that you’ve given his opinion considerable thought - and in the end, you made a decision that was best for everyone.
4. Acknowledge when you’re wrong
Some employees may hesitate offering their opinion because they don’t want you to lose face. This might happen when you implement a program that’s inefficient or doesn’t work. However, if your employees know how to improve a particular program, welcome his or her opinion. If you can accept constructive criticism in a professional manner, your employees will feel comfortable expressing their opinions.
5. Regularly encourage employee feedback and opinions
To truly make employees feel like you value their opinions, encourage their ideas and suggestions. You’re the boss, but the entire team contributes to the success of the organization. Periodically, hand out employee surveys and request honest feedback. Ask questions related to your management style, salaries and company culture. You can ask advice on ways to improve or increase productivity. Also, one-on-one meetings with your staff can encourage them to open up and share their opinions. But it isn’t enough to gather information, show employees that you value their opinions by implementing their suggestions when possible.
If an employee gives his opinion, this doesn’t suggest that he dislikes your management style, or feels that you’re doing a poor job. In most cases, he’s interested in the welfare of the company. Listening to their thoughts and showing that you value their opinions can contribute to long-term success.