Berger Leadership Blog

Oct 27, 2017

Why leaders should ask for employee feedback

Staff sign
Sign in NAFCU's lobby.

A big component to being a successful leader is the ability to accept and appropriately act on feedback received from others -€“ whether positive or negative. With this in mind, how many of us directly encourage our employees to provide us feedback or suggestions for improvement?

A recent study that involved 27,048 executives, managers and employees found that only 24 percent of people say their leaders encourage and recognize suggestions for improvement; 16 percent say their leader never does so.

Soliciting employee feedback goes beyond improving ourselves as leaders. Not listening, or not even asking employees for feedback, can have a large impact on employee engagement. Another part of the study found that 62 percent of "employees who say their leader always encourages and recognizes suggestions for improvement will strongly recommend it as a great organization to work for."

Author of the study, Forbes contributor Mark Murphy, said it is the high-performing employees that are the most likely to be impacted by a leader who doesn't encourage feedback or suggestions. "[L]eaders who neither encourage, nor are open to hearing, suggestions for improvement are going to utterly demoralize their high performers (the people your company can least afford to lose)."

Or, stated by Murphy another way: "Every leader at every company faces the choice to either encourage or ignore their employees'€™ suggestions. If those ideas are heard, employees will be inspired. But if those ideas aren'€™t solicited or heard, those employees likely form a festering pool of disengagement or they simply quit."

At NAFCU headquarters, we have a sign in our lobby that reads "Our staff is our most important asset." I firmly believe this and regularly encourage my teammates to let me know how I'm doing and how I can improve. While some feedback and suggestions might not always be easy to hear, you'd be surprised at the results. Follow me on Twitter (@BDanBerger).