The Best New Managers Create an Open Environment

Best New Managers a photo of a door with strong locks

Best New Managers
Over and over, we have been told by employees that the best new managers ensure that their teams work in an environment of open communication that is built upon trust, healthy conflict, accountability and mutual respect. Our annual employee engagement survey research certainly backs up this claim.

Is It as Simple As Having an Open Door Policy?
It is not enough to unlock your door as a new manager and tell your team members they are welcome any time.  An open door policy alone does not encourage your followers to share their ideas and concerns. The best new managers do more.

Three Ways to Create an Open Environment
The best new managers establish an organizational culture where feedback is valued, freely given and freely received.  That means managers need to do more than just set the stage. Manager have to model the way by soliciting feedback and receiving it in a spirit of learning and growing.  Here are three tips that should be incorporated into your new manager training:

  • Be the First
    Acknowledge that you want to continuously learn how to improve as a new leader. Who better to evaluate your performance as a supervisor than those you supervise? Ask them for specific feedback and receive it graciously. Then check back now and then to see if you have in fact changed for the better. Consider a more formal 360-degree feedback process to get deeper feedback after you have been in your new leadership role for 6-9 months.
  • Be Specific
    It is not enough to ask for general feedback as in, “Let me know how I am doing as a manager.” You need to zero in on a specific skill or behavior that you want to work on. Let’s say you want to get better at running weekly meetings. At the end of each session, ask how you might have moved things along more efficiently, if the agenda was followed, or if everyone felt they had an opportunity to contribute.
  • Make It Safe
    Not many people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts if there are high chances for negative repercussions. Ensure that new ideas and perspectives are encouraged and welcomed by the group. Use the brainstorming philosophy where ideas and concerns are invited and no judgment is made until the group has a chance to consider all the alternatives.

The Bottom Line
You will know you are headed in the right direction when your team shares opinions openly without fear of reprisal, has the information they need to be successful, believes their ideas are taken seriously, and are confident that their feedback is well received and followed up on.

To learn more about what the best managers do to create high performing teams, download The 6 Management Practices that Differentiate the Extraordinary from the Average

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