Be Brave. Really Listen To What Your Employees Think.I believe owners never hear the truth from their employees unless they really push the point. It’s also one of the lies that you might tell yourself about your employees. Read on to find out where you might be making a mistake, that is if you’re like most owners I know.

Your employees don’t tell you the truth.

I hate to tell you this, but your employees don’t tell you the truth. Even if you think they’re telling you the truth, they are at least shading what you’re told to make sure you don’t blow a gasket.

I bet you don’t like to hear bad news. I also bet that when you do hear bad news your reaction isn’t always the best. If that sounds like you, that’s OK, it’s also what most owners I know do.

So, let’s just start with the possibility that your employees don’t tell you the truth. When you consider this as a possibility you’re in a better position to do something about it.

Do you know the benefit of your employees telling you the truth?

Think about this question and think hard? You might say that your employees owe you the truth. After all, don’t you sign their paycheck?

You have to remember that your employees don’t come to you with no backstory and no personal history. They’ve been taught by teachers, parents, past employers and society that delivering bad news just isn’t good for their mental health or for that matter job security either.

Believe this……your employees see telling you the truth as having a much larger downside than any upside. If they deliver bad news their belief is probably at the very best they’ll be yelled at and no one wants to be yelled at, much less fired.

I bet you don’t’ know how scary you really are!

My kids will often tell me stop yelling. I won’t be talking loudly and I won’t have drool coming out of my mouth. I probably do have a very intense look on my face. In their opinion I’m yelling.

Your employees aren’t going to tell you to stop yelling. If they did you would probably tell them that you’re not yelling and in your mind you’re correct.

At the same time, ask yourself this question, “Am I communicating with intensity?” If you’re answer is no, ask the question directly to people you work with that have shown courage in the past?

The answer to the question………yes, you are that scary.

OK, so my employees don’t tell me the truth, what can I do about it?

You have to give your employees permission to talk with you when they disagree. This requires that you pay close attention to those you’re speaking with. If there is any chance that they don’t agree, you need to say, “It looks like you don’t agree.”

When you say that to an employee or something like it you’re giving them permission to disagree. If your employees tells you they don’t disagree, you have to press. Don’t stop. If you think your employees are shading the truth, they probably are.

I can tell you that from personal experience this is a very dangerous situation. If your employees aren’t telling you the whole story, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll have wished they had.

What’s the point of all of this?

It’s time for you to step up and be the adult in your company. You want to get the best thinking from your employees. Here are some things that can help:

  • Be the last to give your opinion in a meeting.
  • Be very aware of body language. You could be telegraphing what you think when you don’t want to.
  • Admit that you’ve not been the best listener in the world.
  • Learn to ask questions to drill down. The more questions you ask the more your employee’s defenses will drop.

What do you think? Why don’t you let me know in the comments below or click here to send me a fast email.

Topics: For business owners, communication, business owner myth, organizational development

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