This weekly twork* is part of our series to make work better together - get it direct to your inbox.
Are you a leader, manager or a business owner with an open-door policy? Do you sometimes feel that despite being a leader that encourages open discussion and feedback you don’t always get the full picture or radical honesty from your team about what’s going on in the business?
Maybe in a meeting you ask for feedback or input and you get….. nothing!
Recently, we talked about how important the share of voice in the room is. This week we are exploring the concept of a leader's voice and how powerful it can be in the workplace (even if it is not intended to always be this way).
Understanding Influence and the power of your voice
No matter how down-to-earth or approachable you are, your role as a leader comes with a unique power dynamic, especially if you have authority over financial implications for your team or if you can hire or fire them. This can lead to people unintentionally swaying their responses to your suggestions or they may be influenced by the power that you hold.
Even a simple idea from you as simple as “Hey why don’t we try this” might be perceived as a directive or sway people to change their idea or even to forget about it altogether.
As leaders, we may also have our own internal biases that influence ourselves and others, even if that is not our intent. For example, as leaders and managers, we often feel the responsibility to have all the answers and this may naturally come out in our interactions with our team.
This week's ‘Twork’ (tweak for better work) is about learning how to harness your voice to get more input from your team and colleagues.
Remember the golden rule - some will see your voice as more powerful and authoritative than others because of your position or role. The more senior the more power no matter what your intent is.
It’s up to you to continuously build psychological safety - meaning people will feel safe enough to speak up and challenge you without fear of repercussions. While this is a twork, there is no silver bullet - you must continuously work on creating space for others to speak up, seek input, hold back on your views until others speak.
Think like a journalist
Instead of issuing directives or starting with your ideas and suggestions, ask for input first. Be deeply curious about your team's perspectives, views, insights and what they think your business or team should do.
We are wired to hear prompts and wait for the smallest gap to jump in with our own views, so we are often preoccupied on when we can jump in rather than actively listening. Hold back, try take notes, ask open questions and get comfortable with silence.
Send Feedback (Actively)
While open-door policies can be great, they are passive in seeking feedback from your team. You need to wait for someone to come to you and there needs to be a high degree of trust for them to do that.
Instead, actively seek out feedback, and enquire about how you can better support your team and if there's anything you could do differently.
Don’t be afraid to ask honest questions, even something as simple as “Is there anything I have done in the last few months that you'd rather I’d have done differently”.
This shows your team you are listening, and are actively seeking and open to feedback rather than having them seek you out. It shows you value their input and are open to improvement.
Embrace Feedback (Graciously)
When you receive feedback, especially when it's challenging or critical, resist the urge to become defensive. Express gratitude for the input.
As a leader, you need to be the exemplar for your team, to show that when you are given hard feedback or hard information, it is valuable and appreciated. Go one step further and thank the person in public for their feedback and the change you are making as a result - say at your next team meeting. This sets a positive example for your team, showing that you're receptive to their perspectives, not afraid to be challenged and input and critical thinking is rewarded and recognised.
Build a Culture of Trust
Creating a workplace where your team feels safe to voice their opinions, even when they differ from yours, is essential for fostering open communication and innovation.
When team members feel secure in expressing their thoughts, you're more likely to uncover fresh ideas and drive positive change. By recognising the power of your voice and actively taking steps to encourage others, you are already on the way to enforcing positive change.
Let us know how it goes, and together, let's make work better—one voice at a time!
At A Better Work we work with our clients to make work better and more fulfilling. It's not about happiness, it's about feeling a sense of accomplishment, and building teams that work brilliantly together in good times and bad.
The best bit is all of this is good for your business - for your bottom line, for retention and for customer satisfaction. If you think we can help, reach out for a chat.
Let’s make work better together.
A Better Work
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Let’s make work better together.