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Want to be an inspiring leader? Research shows that a key element in becoming an inspiring and charismatic leader is making it a habit to solicit ideas, opinions and suggestions from those who work for you.

Solicit ideas, opinions and suggestions

In the largest study ever undertaken into what makes some leaders particular inspiring (400,000 employees rated their 40,000 managers on their ability to inspire) we found that formally polling people for their input on a regular basis was one of the most impactful habits a leader can build.  Here’s how to do it.

You don’t know what your people are thinking

Most leaders make the mistake of assuming that they understand what’s going on in the minds of those working for them – don’t assume.  Make it a point to solicit feedback from all of your people on a regular basis – in one-on-one encounters and in group meetings.

Here are some key points in seeking input from your people:

  • Create a new habit.  Regularly put each of your people in a situation where they have to contribute and they’ll come up with input you never expected.  When they do so you make them feel bright and valuable – and instantly raise your own leadership charisma, whilst at the same time getting valuable input that will make everyone’s life easier.
  • Involve everyone.  Some people have no problem providing feedback in your everyday meetings and in other public forums – but some will shy away from this.  Make it a point to seek input from those who hold back in group meetings. Most people who hold back in this manner do so because of lack of confidence in what they have to say.  Build their confidence by calling on their input every so often in group sessions – “What’s your take on this David?”, or “How would you do this Marie?”.
  • Get them one-on-one.  If you still find it difficult to get them to contribute in such forums, then get time with them one-on-one and solicit their ideas.  Making another feel valuable is one of the most charismatic acts possible – and a critical way of doing so is simply to ask for their input and suggestions.  You’ll build their own confidence in the value of their insights – again raising your own charismatic impact. In every conversation make it a point to ensure that you have taken ideas, opinions and suggestions from every party to the conversation before you make any decision or determination.
  • Follow through.  The first time that you take feedback, nod sagely and interestedly at the suggestions, and then proceed to do nothing whatever to follow up is the last time you’ll get valuable feedback.  The feedback loop remains open, and a charismatic impact is achieved only when you close the loop by being seen to taking some action.  When you act on feedback you applaud the contributor and encourage more feedback.
  • Feedback.  Even if, having considered someone’s contributions, you must later come back and explain why their feedback did not result in the action they’d have liked this is vastly preferable to simply ignoring input you do not like.
  • Review your performance.  How well are you doing soliciting input from your people (or as a leader in general)?  Unsure?  Use the Checkpoint 360 to find out.

Now, having read this post stop and think: how do you feel when someone your respect, especially someone in authority, does you the compliment of looking for your input on a key topic?  Pretty good, huh?

Develop a habit of doing just this with your team and watch how you become a much more inspiring leader and how your impact on your people rises dramatically (btw if you’re looking for practical advice on how to do this check out ‘Leadership Charisma’).

What’s the best way I could engage you if you worked for me?

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