Most people are careful about what they say to their bosses, and sometimes their reluctance to say what they really think can have negative, even disastrous, consequences. So how do you encourage your team to be more open with you?
An article by Dina Smith in Fast Company has four good recommendations.
It’s important to note that all of her points are relevant to the kind of session where you are receiving feedback from one or more members of your team. So the focus is on you listening, understanding, avoiding judgments, and not trying to rebut any negative observations they may have.
This makes it very different from a typical exchange you’d have when you are searching for solutions. When solving problems together, you’re definitely expected to state your opinions and, as needed, respond to ideas others may have.
But I’d like to point out that, even in a session devoted to receiving feedback, where you are primarily participating as a listener, there may be times when you really do need to account for your actions. For example, It may be important to explain why you made a certain decision. Or why you didn’t support a team member’s idea.
Your failure to do so can be taken as an unwillingness to be open and fully part of the discussion. As a result, others may be less willing to be open themselves. Also it could be the case that others think your reactions in certain instances were personal when they weren’t. If you fail to offer any alternative reasons, they’re left with their assumptions.
But you still need to avoid offering your explanations in a defensive manner. For example, you may want to preface your remarks with a comment like, “I may or may not have made the right decision there, but what I was thinking was that …”
You can read the article at https://www.fastcompany.com/90515387/are-they-being-honest-with-me-heres-how-to-encourage-candid-employee-feedback?.