When you are working in any type of business environment, regardless of your position, it’s important to make validation a big part of your company culture. There are many reasons for this, but the bottom line is that validation is a sign of respect at the most humanistic level. This, in turn, sets the stage for high morale, eager participation, and improved collaboration as a team. When employees can connect with and share their opinions with managers, without any fear of reprisal, that’s when creativity and problem-solving both flourish and the customer ends up being the biggest winner of all.
One of the best ways to validate someone is by showing that their opinion and viewpoint matters. Leaders who ask for feedback and listen to employee suggestions show that they understand perspective. Different points of view bring different solutions to the table. People who do the day-to-day activities might have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t, as well as offer suggestions to improve efficiency. If you do decide to go with an employee’s idea, make sure to publicly praise them and give them the recognition. This will not only encourage other people to volunteer ideas but it will also boost the morale of the employee who helped the business. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t have to always be in the form of a monetary award. People value being recognized among their peers and will work harder just to be in that spotlight.
Open-door policies are not cliché. They are a culture that should be part of any leadership. Not only should you schedule regular team meetings and encourage one on one meetings, but you should also make your team awake that you are free to chat other times as well. This can be for anything ranging from conflict resolution to business-related problem-solving. Whenever a new idea is introduced, be as candid as possible and give your team enough time to adjust to any changes, especially if a learning curve is involved. Be quick and responsive with feedback about questions and address any barriers they might be facing. Your goal is to work alongside your employees to help support them and boost them up.
People like to know how they are progressing when tasks are assigned, so it’s important to keep them in the loop by setting goals for your team and then sharing the progress by holding consistent check-ins. Weekly or monthly team meetings should be started by acknowledging your gratitude for pulling employees away from their daily tasks,. This sets the stage for showing that their time also has value, and makes them more active listeners throughout the rest of the meeting. In addition, the meetings should always end on a positive, encouraging note as well. Any challenging topics should be addressed in the middle so employees can absorb information while still walking away with a positive attitude.