Executives: 6 Great Ways to Elicit Your Admins’ Ideas

June 27, 2022


Do your admins rarely offer ideas on their own? That doesn’t mean they don’t have dozens of ideas—and want to share them. So what’s holding them back? They may be afraid their ideas have no merit … that you’ll brush their ideas aside … you’ll react badly to constructive criticism … or your admins may simply be too shy to speak up. Here are six great ways to elicit your admins’ best ideas.

  1. Ask for your admins’ ideas
    Surprisingly, many leaders don’t ask their admins to contribute ideas. If you haven’t asked your admins for ways to increase their involvement and help the company — what are you waiting for? There’s a reason you’re hearing only silence.
  2. Make your questions specific
    Questions like “How can we do better?” are too vague. More specific: “What is our problem in getting the marketing report out on time?” “What more can we do to keep client Y satisfied? “How can we help the budget process move along faster?”
  3. Always listen carefully
    When an admin offers an idea, don’t interrupt. Hear them out, then repeat their idea back to them to ensure you got it right. If you don’t listen, they won’t have any incentive to share.
  4. Don’t dismiss “bad” ideas
    Don’t put down ideas that seem off-base. Even a not-so-great suggestion can have a kernel of truth that leads to a productive discussion and strong solutions.
  5. Offer several ways to submit ideas
    Let your admins know you’re always ready to listen to their ideas. Give them options: Slack, brainstorming, one-on-one meetings, email. You want to ensure everyone has a chance to contribute in a way that’s comfortable for each individual.
  6. Praise your admins for ideas that make a difference
    Thank everyone who has contributed to a successful solution. Your admins will realize the benefits of speaking out. They’ll feel proud to have helped you, their department and the organization. And the more valuable they believe their feedback is, the more likely they are to offer strong ideas going forward.

In short, make sure to nurture your admins’ ideas and give them the space and the safety to share them.


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