One of the most efficient and effective ways to understand the internal workings of your organization is employee feedback.
Employee surveys will unveil your flaws as well as your strengths. Similar to surveys gauging how employees feel about the company, a leadership performance survey can provide insight into how you’re doing as the founder, and what you could do to improve.
“Asking my staff how I’m doing on a regular basis has improved my leadership skills. I’ve sharpened certain skills, thanks to my teams’ insights,” says Peter Daisyme, a special adviser to Due.com, a payments company helping small business owners transact money online.
Instead of canvassing the entire company, start with management. Over time, widen your feedback circle to include employee surveys of leadership. Consider sharing the results with everyone; also telling them what you will work on to become a better leader, says Daisyme.
Here’s what employee feedback has done for him and how you too can benefit.
- Better Listener. “Talking with my staff about my leadership style and what they need from me has helped me to stop, focus and actively listen. Not only are they talking about me, but they’re sharing insights and ideas on what I’m doing [either] to help or to hinder them,” he explains. “Really listening to them and understanding how they relate their impressions of my performance also helps me learn their communication styles.”
- Knowing What To Work On. “Hearing from others what I could be doing better provides me with a personalized list of skills to work on,” says Daisyme. “If I see a pattern, it then stands out as things that should be upgraded to address the concerns and needs of my team.”
- New Motivational Strategies. Feedback also can be used to motivate employees. They tell you what incentivizes them and makes them feel appreciated. “As a leader, I can make these things happen, which in turn inspires them to work harder. It’s better for them to tell me what they want than for me to guess,” he adds.
- Focusing On Ongoing Improvement. Hearing from others about how I can improve and then acting on that feedback also demonstrates that constant improvement and continual learning is good for the organization overall. It’s helped me see the value of offering more opportunities for everyone to improve their skills. All of us working on improvements can only lead to better performance and greater success.
- Understanding of Strengths. Feedback is also about learning what you’re doing right. “It shows me what my team values and admires, so I can leverage those strengths to get more from them. I also know that when they see these qualities in action, it helps them develop similar skills and leadership abilities as they grow.”
A version of this story originally appeared on the BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi and is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives, and small business owners.