Become a stronger leader in five easy steps:
- Take 20 minutes each day to engage in a conversation with an employee. Since the goal is to pick up useful information and gain insight, let the employee do most of the talking. Ask open-ended questions and then listen. Possible questions include: What’s going on in the department? What are you working on?
- Make it clear how you want employees to communicate with you. When people do use your preferred method, whether voice-mail message, email or in-person conversation, respond promptly.
- Be open. Your staff can’t know the range of issues you’re coping with and the competing demands on your time unless you tell them. Appropriate disclosure gives everyone a better understanding of the business.
- Give your employees a chance to work out their mistakes. If people are afraid of you, they’re unlikely to do their best work.
- Develop reliable, trustworthy lieutenants who know that they can bring you bad news. Since bad news always comes to light anyway, it’s smart to be the kind of manager who can hear it as soon as it’s known.