Four Simple Actions: Ask Me What I Think

James Wimbush, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs; Dean of the University Graduate School, addresses the camera.

(James Wimbush)

Indiana University’s success stems from its people. That’s why knowing how to engage individuals and teams effectively is an essential leadership skill. Leading at IU designed Four Simple Actions to give leaders a communications framework for their everyday conversations. Learn the first of Four Simple Actions you can take as a leader to build trust and improve how employees feel about their workplace.

ACTION 1: Ask me what I think

What does this mean?

Talk to your employees to gain the opinions and ideas of those who are doing the work.

Include employees in decisions that impact their jobs or their roles.

Why is this important? How does this help you?

Your employees want to feel like they make significant contributions to your unit and to the university.

When staff feel involved in making decisions they feel ownership of the process and will be committed to execution, which can lead to improved performance.

New and creative ideas can lead to greater efficiency and better results.

I’ve had first-hand experience with this. Several years ago, the offices of The Graduate School in Bloomington and IUPUI were to be combined under one organizational structure. Being a management professor who has studied organizations all of my career, I thought that I would create the most effective organizational structure that would work for my team. I was wrong, very wrong.  I ended up scrapping what I had done, got the input of all members of this staff, and the result was a structure that not only made more sense but it was one that led to greater performance and every one bought into it.

Do this now:

Be open to each team member’s opinions and feedback.

Schedule regular times to talk with team members specifically to ask for their opinions.

Provide feedback on opinions you solicited. If you plan to implement their idea or feedback share how. If you do not plan to implement their idea or feedback, that’s okay.  Thank them for their input and share why not.

We encourage you to find opportunities to ask your employees what they think at your next one-on-one or team meeting. Learn more at our website.

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Learn more at our website: hr.iu.edu/4simpleactions