This post, by Rakia Reynolds, appeared in its entirety on Forbes.com. In this piece, Rakia, founder and president of Skai Blue Media, shares a few fantastic ideas about how to create a culture where all team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas - in other words, a grey culture.
If you’re a company leader whose team members don’t feel comfortable approaching you, you have an internal PR problem. Businesses thrive when people on all levels feel comfortable approaching each other. Personal advancement comes from pulling off big projects and getting big results. But sometimes people with the best ideas don’t have the sway to make them happen on their own. If the person with the brilliant idea doesn’t feel comfortable speaking up because he thinks you don’t even know he exists, you are the one missing out.
You’re a more effective CEO and leader when you know who works for you. Below are a few questions to make sure you know the answers to:
- What did they do before joining your team?
- What are their goals within their position?
- What are their favorite tasks or responsibilities?
- What one task or set of tasks would they eliminate from their job if they could?
- Which client is their favorite to work with? Why?
- Who is their least favorite?
- What skills do they have but are unable to put to use in their position?
This list of questions are just a few to get you started in understanding how your employees and company truly operate.
Another great suggestion from Rakia is to have more than just an open-door policy as boss. Go the extra mile and take on the responsibility of starting conversations with your team instead of waiting for them to approach you.
Maybe you set up office hours like a college professor and invite staff members to come and chat for five minutes a week or to pitch you an idea. Or set ground rules like, “I will not reject or accept a pitch until I’ve had 24 hours to think about it,” so the pressure is off your subordinate and he won’t worry that you’ll laugh at his idea. Another idea is to ask for anonymous feedback from staff members through Survey Monkey or Google Forms.
We love the sample questions Rakia included. If you’re a leader at your company, do you know the answers for each person on your team? If you are a team member, does your leader know these answers about you? If not, take the situation into your own hands! Set up a meeting stat and let them know - there’s nothing to stop you from being the one to grey your company culture!
Learn more about Rakia and Skai Blue Media here.