As a leader, your ideas and opinions are regularly heard and taken to heart. Regardless of your role in a team, there needs to be two-way communication to grow and work out kinks in productivity and work quality, and you can’t have two-way communication without listening to others. Follow these tips to help you become a better listener:

Encourage Conversation and Be Accessible

You might have some team members who are cautious about expressing their opinions to you for a variety of reasons, but simply encouraging communication can ease their uncertainty. After you initially encourage your team to talk to you, you need to remain accessible to them. Never being available could hinder the progress you made with making your team feel comfortable enough to talk to you.

Give an Option for Anonymity

Even after encouragement, there will still be some people who simply will not be comfortable enough to communicate candidly with you. Solve this by giving the option for anonymity. There are many great surveying services out there you could take advantage of to hear your employees’ honest feedback, so test a few and try implementing one for your team.

Accept the Good with the Bad

Anytime you want to hear from your team, you need to expect and accept the good with the bad. No team is perfect, and it would be unreasonable to believe that everything your teammates have to say is positive, so you need to be open to hearing both. If your teammates become under the impression that you will only listen to positive feedback, then they will not take you seriously and open up.

Follow Through

Perhaps the most important thing you can do as a leader is follow through on your teammates’ suggestions. Taking action shows your team that you listened and took their feedback to heart. If you fail to follow through, the chances of you getting them open up again decrease drastically.

Everyone wants to be heard, and making your teammates feel heard helps make them feel appreciated. By following these listening tips, you will help build a more open environment where your teammates feel confident in expressing themselves, ultimately benefiting both you and your team as a whole.