Do What You Say You Will

In Keeping Good Employees I talked about asking some simple questions. The biggest mistake I see managers make is to fail to deliver on what they say in such meetings.

There is the saying “It is better to be thought a fool than speak, and prove it.” Well it is better to be thought a pointy haired boss than to ask for feedback, then ignore it, and prove you are a PHB. This behavior is extremely common with a survey of employee satisfaction but can extend to any failure of management follow through. If you are not going to act on what good employees tell you – don’t ask.

If some of what they mention is something you disagree with, then explain that to them. Even bad decision making that is explained is better than no explanation and no action. If you end up explaining why no action can be taken on every suggestion then employees should rightfully (most likely) find you lacking. One aspect of the explanation is to educate them for future suggestions – there may well be factors they don’t think about that you must. But, even in such a case the best practice is normally to adjust the idea a bit to make it workable.

Related: Encourage Improvement Action by EveryoneBring Me Problems and Solutions if You Have ThemStandardized Work InstructionsHow to ImproveWrite it DownWhat Could be Improved?

This entry was posted in Management, Process improvement, Respect, Systems thinking and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Do What You Say You Will

  1. John,

    Right on the mark. Asking for feedback and doing nothing about it is a huge demoralizer. It's the classic issue with employee surveys too.

  2. Pingback: CuriousCat: NUMMI, and GM's Failure to Manage Effectively

  3. Pingback: Practical Ways to Respect People | Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog

Comments are closed.