Leaders articulate a vision, set a course, are decisive and have presence in order to inspire others. And, leaders also need to be open. They need to be as welcoming of others’ ideas and input as they are to offering their own. They need to be willing to learn from others and not just be “the teacher.”
Employees want to know that their leaders are open to ideas and that they are being heard. Without openness, no employee is going to be motivated to offer ideas, process improvements or think out of the box.
Listening is a great way to demonstrate openness.
How good of a listener are you?
- When you put out an idea, do you ask for input or feedback?
- Do you welcome people countering and disagreeing with you?
- Do you truly welcome ideas that run counter your own?
Without a climate that welcomes productive conflict, artificial harmony will exist; you may find that even though people seem to be in agreement, they aren’t truly on board. This situation breeds lack of commitment or accountability.
Work on being open to others’ ideas by:
- Watching your own body language and facial expressions when people disagree with you.
- Being careful of your language in response to others’ pushback.
- Using words like, “I see it differently,” or “I have a different perspective” rather than “I disagree” or “You’re wrong.”
Openness is a great way to learn from others and promote learning and acceptance across your organization!