But it can be very hectic being a manager, and perhaps you're not finding as much time to listen to your team members as you had originally planned.
Why not set up a team blog that only you and your team members have access to. It's an easy and free way for your team members to publish their thoughts and for you and other team members to comment on.
1. Set up your blog
There are a range of free platforms you can use - Blogger, Wordpress, Typepad, Google Sites are some of the easiest to use.
To start with you'll probably want to use a default template and maybe upload a company logo.
Make sure that your blog is set to private and that you have added your team members as authors.
For more information on setting up blogs visit the individual sites - links are below.
2. Write the first post
As you are driving this initiative you should make the first post. Introduce the blog as a team resource, almost like a suggestion box, except that everyone in the team can see and comment on the suggestions.
Make it clear that the blog is private to your team and that anything goes as long as it is not offensive.
Let your team know that you aren't looking for essays with perfect grammer and punctuation. If a team member has an idea about the company party, or a new marketing strategy then post it up.
3. Review posts in a team meeting
There is no point in asking for input if it doesn't get discussed (it's worse than not asking for input in the first place). You probably have a regular team meeting scheduled already so why not add a 'blog posts' section. By confirming that anything written on the blog will get discussed at the team meeting, your team know that they have a voice and it will encourage further posts.
It doesn't mean that every idea has to be agreed, but at least it can be discussed and given a valid reason as to why it was or was not taken forward.
4. Reward regular posters
Some of your team members will love the new blog, some will be so-so, and some will be very negative (perhaps just because they feel uncomfortable putting their thoughts on paper).
Recognise your regular posters with a reward - perhaps its a late start on the 1st day of the month, perhaps its public praise via Kebuki onto a Social Network, or perhaps it's a mention in a team meeting.
Put your top posters on a pedestal to highlight that their opinions are valued and in demand.
5. Post your own ideas
As a manager it's OK to ask for your team's opinion! Perhaps it is about a new bonus scheme, or a new desk layout. Rather than just delivering it as a finished article why not post some options onto the blog. Get your team to comment and choose their preferred option.
They will feel that you've asked their opinion, and that ultimately they made the decision. This is what social leadership is all about. "What do you think?" are the most powerful words a leader can use.
We hope this post has inspired you to set up a team blog. Let us know how you get on in the comments section below.
If you want to see how Kebuki can help you to become a more social leader then watch the demo!