What kind of leader are you?
By CHRIS HALLBERG | Special to The Denver Post
November 12, 2017 at 12:01 am
Ask these 10 questions of your employees each quarter.
Leaders can become afraid of learning their employees’ true feelings towards their company
Leaders can become afraid of learning their employees’ true feelings towards the company and its overall structure. In turn, they shy away from even initiating such conversations and asking important questions. But successful leaders happily ask these questions with an eye on making things better for their team.
When everyone is heard and acknowledged, only then can a leader make the right decisions and give each employee what he or she needs. If you don’t ask these essential questions, who will?
What is your overall satisfaction with your team? This question allows you to gain access to the big picture — providing key understanding on what’s working and what isn’t, directly from your staff. It’s no secret that dissatisfaction with overall team performance is a primary reason for top talent to exit. Taking the initiative to ask your employees for feedback, and frequently, will provide you with valuable insight and allow you to rectify concerns.
How do you rate your current company? On a scale of 1 to 10, you’ll either be the 10 or you won’t. If you are not, don’t become defensive or offended. Ask what specifically was better at your employee’s previous company. Then compare it to your current team and ask yourself, as the leader, would it be possible to adopt some of those successful strategies?
Does your leader support and develop you? If you are not actively investing in your employees, they eventually will move on to find someone who will. Do you give them enough of your time? Do you give them the right tools to compete and win? Do you train them in new skills and technologies that allow them to be more effective?
Does your leader hold you accountable? Highly engaged and highly accountable teams outperform those who lack both. When you have the right people in the right seats, the best employees don’t mind being held accountable for their actions and their results. If they are accountable, they know others are held accountable too, and that’s one of the main ingredients to employees giving their best day in and day out.
Does your leader hold others accountable? This question smokes out if your employees feel like favoritism or double standards are in play at your company. Obviously, you want to treat everyone on the team the same, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. Often you’ll discover that leadership and the “favorites” get a pass and the troops get the stick. When leaders are held to a higher standard and not a special one, you’ll find that it’s much easier to get buy-in and acceptance.
Does your leader communicate well? When discussing performance issues with employees, leaders often fail to communicate clear expectations and clearly defined expectations for performance. The leaders are then bewildered that the task hasn’t been accomplished to their satisfaction. An easy way to ensure effective communication is to simply ask, “OK, do you feel like you’ve got it?” If they answer “yes,” as they probably will, say, “Great! Now echo that back to me, just to make sure I’ve explained this well to you.”
Are you likely to recommend your company to a friend? This is like the Net Promoter Score for you as a leader, and for the company at large. If they were at a BBQ with their friends on a weekend and the topic came up, how do you think your team would respond? Would your employee say, “You’d be lucky to get hired. My company is world-class!” Or would the conversation be more like, “Well, if you can get past a ton of B.S., politics and red tape, you can grind out a living just like I do!”
How do you rate your team for “health?” To give you a gauge for their response, a 10 is when trust is very high, there is healthy conflict, nothing is personal and when something is called out for not being ideal, no one gets defensive or upset. A one is when people are not speaking the truth, everyone is walking around on eggshells and it’s better not rock the boat.
Do you feel adequately recognized? Employees work hard, sometimes stay late, give their all and go above and beyond. If they aren’t recognized for these sacrifices, they usually will stop. Sometimes others steal credit for their work or leaders are simply oblivious to their contributions. What is your format to make sure this doesn’t happen?
How likely are you to seek advancement? This is a great way to identify your next leaders. It also speaks to how your leaders are perceived by the staff. Not everyone wants to be a leader, and that is perfectly OK. If they say no, ask why, but don’t try to “sell” management to them. It’s better to understand what their reasons are and to respect them.
The sum of these questions will give you valuable information on where you are doing well and what needs attention. If you ask these questions every 90 days, you can compare the responses and spot problem areas before things get too caustic to your company culture. If you don’t ask, you are guessing, and that might not work out well for you or your team.