Performance & Hotrod Business - January '15

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How Are We Doing? The proper use of employee feedback builds consensus. n BE A LEADER By TimoThy F. Bednarz M any companies take the time to survey their customers. But what about their employees? Productivity is enhanced and empowerment achieved when leaders solicit, then act upon employee feedback, ideas and concepts. Some would say soliciting and acting upon feedback is the essence of leadership. The proper use of feedback allows leaders to build consensus among their employees and give them ownership of the ideas and concepts to be implemented within the organization. There are critical differences between "manag- ers" and "leaders." Managers tend to direct and control without soliciting feedback and building employee consensus. Leaders, on the other hand, build their strength from group consensus, acting as facilitator rather than controller. They understand the power and synergy of combining ideas and working together to achieve mutual goals. The more involvement leaders seek from their employees, the easier it will be to implement new ideas, resolve nagging problems, minimize con- flict and move the organization forward. Leaders will find the more proficient they are in working with their employees and soliciting their input, the smoother things will run, as many problems and headaches experienced in the past are eliminated. The ideas and concepts created by employees during the feedback process can be easily imple- mented using the following techniques, either in a group setting or individually. Initiate Dialogue The feedback process begins with the ini- tiation of a dialogue between the leader and employee(s). This should include a clear and con- cise presentation of the problem or circumstance being addressed. Whenever possible, a presentation of back- ground material, including any and all support- ing facts, should be included in order to afford employees a complete overview of the situation. Research has shown that by providing employ- ees with the complete information concerning a specific problem, they are more responsive, feel more involved in the decision-making process and are more productive when the ideas are implemented. Solicit Feedback Once the dialogue has been initiated and the facts presented to the employees, the leader should solicit feedback from them and open the floor to discussion. Respectfully Accept All Feedback All ideas and feedback should be respectfully accepted and considered. One individual should be assigned to write the ideas down on a white- board or large sheet of paper for the group to see. The leader should make sure no derogatory remarks are made as an individual presents an idea or gives their feedback. A failure to do so will further limit contributions from more reluctant members of the group. Leaders should solicit feedback from each individual in their group, even if they have to ask for it. Group Similar Ideas & Concepts Together with the members of the group, the leader should brainstorm to combine ideas and concepts. Often individuals communicate the same idea or concept, but in different ways. Excerpt: Improving Communication in the Workplace: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011). To learn more about author and publisher Timothy F. Bednarz, email timothy.bednarz@majo- or visit www. BUSINESS 100 n Performance & Hotrod Business n January 2015

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