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How can I get honest feedback from my team?

4 min read


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As a CEO, how can I get honest feedback from my team?

1. Be open

I think it starts with you as CEO in the beginning. You have to be open and willing to listen to everything. Ask for feedback consistently so people know they can come to you with honest feedback. Always address the feedback positively. Take it in and make changes accordingly. Keep in mind, if they feel coming to you will impact their job negatively, they will never be honest.– John Rampton, Adogy

2. Ask in a different way

Try using “I like, I wish, I wonder.” Ask your team to answer these questions about the company or whatever topic you need help with. It can soften the delivery of even the harshest feedback, making it easier for your team to open up. — Ashley Mady, Brandberry

3. Provide transparency

Often when you’re transparent with employees, even offering explanation for decisions that do not relate to them, they’ll reciprocate with transparency and honest feedback. — Andrew Fayad, eLearning Mind

4. Remove the fear factor

No employee is going to tell you you’re doing something wrong if they think it’ll get them fired. Even the boldest team members need to be empowered to give you consequence-free constructive criticism. Remind employees at team meetings that the only way for the company to improve is to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. Follow this by sending periodic emails asking what people truly think. — Grant Gordon, Solomon Consulting Group

5. Don’t punish feedback

When you ask for “honest” feedback, give it a little more context. Tell them what you plan to do with the feedback, ask specifics and above all, don’t be a jerk when you get what you’ve asked for. If you receive criticism that you believe is unfounded, start a conversation; not an inquisition. — Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media

6. Use TinyPulse

At Hired, we use TinyPulse to anonymously collect feedback and gauge the happiness of our entire team on an ongoing basis. It’s been an effective way to measure how we’re doing, and gives me honest/direct feedback about potential problems early on. Ultimately, we think this will help us retain the best and brightest people and keep everyone motivated. — Matt Mickiewicz, Hired

7. Set the tone

Show employees that you’re also willing to be honest by sharing a story of a vulnerable moment in your life, or a time when honesty mattered. Honesty is energy, and by filling the room with it, it’s easier to connect on a genuine level with team members. — Tyler Arnold, SimplySocial Inc.

8. Have an open-door policy

Without a doubt a CEO has to have an open door policy and interact with his employees and customers, not just his C-suite colleagues. If this happens, honest feedback will follow and others involved in the organization will feel much more engaged. Be a leader who is honest with your followers and they will be honest with you. — Jason Grill, JGrill Media | Sock 101

9. Lead by example

The team you build, not only the product you offer, will dictate how successful your company will be. Keeping dialogue open is important for trust, happiness and productivity. Being CEO should not exempt you from open conversation. If you lead by example in illustrating that is is OK to give and take honest and constructive feedback, your team will follow. — Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

10. Show mutual respect

It’s important that your request for feedback is sincere, so approach team members with whom you have already established a level of mutual respect. It’s an inherently difficult conversation for both parties, so be honest about wanting to improve yourself for the business and ask them to help you do that. — Katie Finnegan, Hukkster

11. Make it clear you value feedback

Have a way to seek anonymous feedback so your team won’t hesitate. Let everyone know when changes are made so they realize that someone is actually listening (and acting on) what they hear. — Kuba Jewgieniew, Realty ONE Group