GREAT LEADERS ENCOURAGE HEARING BAD NEWS FROM STAFF
BAD NEWS CAN BE GOOD FOR BUSINESS
If you’ve been in the workforce for any length of time you’ve probably had a boss that seemed to be in an ivory tower away from people that might give them bad news. A leader that refuses to listen to the truth and sometimes the bad news, will eventually be surrounded by people that have nothing helpful to say. That same leader type is doomed for failure and perhaps the failure of the organization.
What leaders want to hear the least is what we need to hear the most
Great leaders are empathetic listeners. They have the emotional maturity to be critical thinkers and don’t take “the truth” personally. Great leaders hire people that are smarter than they are in areas that the organization will benefit the most. (Jim Collins the author of Good too Great & Built to Last, calls it “Getting the right people on the bus”) These titans are great at listening to the raw truth about what is really happening in the fulfillment center or at the checkout counter.
Great Leaders Make Good Decisions Based on Good Information
1. Create systems that will allow good information to flow to the top, even if it’s bad. Successful leaders have open forums that are scheduled and impromptu meetings where key people (the people doing the work) are able to share what is really happening in their department. Note: great leaders don’t go behind the backs of direct reporting department heads. They realize that doing so can create mistrust.
Tip: Choose a comfortable environment for key people to share feedback and ideas. Go off-campus to their favorite coffee shop for example.
2. Once there are regular and impromptu meetings, create an organizational chart that will allow unfiltered information to flow from different people. Great leaders make sure that aren’t getting information from the same people all the time.
The leader that is a listener will attract and retain talented people that also lead. Creating an environment where people are heard will create an environment where people want to stay. The goal of a leader is to make great decisions with information that is not filtered.
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