It’s a really good idea to ask your team members for feedback.
“What can I do as your manager to make your life easier?”
“What’s one thing I need to change to help you to be more productive?”
“What aspect of my management style really works for you, and what aspect sometimes doesn’t?”
I’ve worked with a lot of managers who have asked their team members these sorts of questions, and without exception they tell me that it’s not only helped them to be a better manager, but it’s also enhanced trust within the team.
I would add that seeking feedback tends to make other people more receptive when you want to give them feedback.
So why do so few managers take time to actively seek feedback? Maybe it’s because they’re busy. Maybe it’s because they don’t trust their team to give useful, honest feedback. But I wonder whether some managers feel that if you ask for feedback, you have to act on it.
Quite often the best response to feedback is to listen carefully, take time to consider it, and then get back to the person either to tell them that you are going to act on their feedback or to explain why you won’t be acting on it. Sometimes it’s more important to understand why someone acts in a certain way than it is to get them to change.
What’s your excuse for failing to ask your team members for feedback?