My new boss told me to never be afraid to give feedback. The next Monday morning in a meeting, I happily shared my viewpoint on a new policy. Thereafter, I noticed my boss’s disposition towards me changed. He stopped talking to me. I was shunned. I even felt the effects of this in my monthly performance appraisal, where he noted, I was not supportive of the organization, and I needed to be a better team player. The picture was quite clear – truthful feedback was not appreciated.
Heather, a co-worker approached me and said, “You are new, honest feedback is just lip service, don’t fall for it.” I quickly learned loyalists and sycophants were appreciated, while realists were punished. They built a culture of “yes employees.” I knew I had so much to offer, yet I couldn’t. It was time to plan my exit strategy.
Your front-line employees know your customers best; they interact with them daily. They have the answers on how to improve customer service and your products. They use your internal tools and systems every day. They have the solutions on how to improve systems which can save money by driving efficiencies. A company that doesn’t listen to their employees is on a slow rolling disaster.
If you keep treating employees poorly, you will never earn their loyalty. And once employees decide they have had enough, they will leave in spite of what you may try to retain them. It would be a little too late. The signs where there early on but you ignored it.
” Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.” -Andy Stanley
Employees who have been pushed to the point where they no longer care, will not go the extra mile. They will not take the initiative to solve problems. They will end up treating customers the same way you treat them. Employees are the heart beat of the company. And if the heart stops beating…What will happen?
As a leader, your job is to encourage others around you to be open and honest without a negative consequence. When employees offer their ideas and differing opinions – be open-minded. Companies that remain strong in this competitive market, understand the need to embrace change and continuous improvement. And it starts with making your employees feel heard, valued and appreciated.