In many large organizations, senior executives are surrounded by assistants, chiefs of staff, and advisors. The purpose of this entourage is to leverage the leader’s time—but, intentionally or not, too many executives receive only news and opinions that have been filtered, orchestrated, or even censored to include what the “senior circle” thinks they should hear. As an executive, breaking through this pattern isn’t easy, but trying these tips—and urging your staff to do the same—may help.
* Create “listening posts” or hold meetings with managers from other parts of the company to hear unvarnished views and engage in more spontaneous dialogue.
* Lead open “town meetings” where employees of all levels are encouraged to speak out.
* Hold skip-level meetings or drop in on your organization’s leadership development classes to connect with rising stars you may not have met.
Adapted from “The Problem with Executive Isolation,” by Ron Ashkenas.