Have you ever felt you are the only one on your team thinking? Have you ever questioned why an employee didn't bring up an issue to you that seems obvious to mention? So why aren't they talking, adding more value, bringing up ideas?
There are a lot of reasons this could be happening. You could be settling for poor performers who don't know how to add value. Those that read my blogs already know my ultimate suggestion if that is the case. You could have some quiet ones on the team. Or it could be that your current culture or management practices are getting in the way.
If ideas are not being filtered up or you are the only one talking in your meetings, you are missing value from your employees and it's not their fault. Your team on the front line of the operation should be bringing up roadblocks and ideas to improve efficiency.
To get them to do this a platform and environment has to be developed for employees to start generating notions. There needs to be a conscious effort made by management to be the gatherers and motivators.
Input gathering should be done on a frequent, informal basis, often in the moment. Ask your employees about troubles in the field, hold-ups and their thoughts on how to fix in the future. This should also be done on a more formal basis in your meetings.
As the leader it is your job to get them talking, get them comfortable with saying what is on their mind. You need to be open to some healthy debate from the team. As an added benefit you will have more engaged, motivated employees if they feel they are contributing. It's a win-win - you get free ideas and they are happy to know someone cares about their opinions. They are glad to be part of the team and come to work every day.
Culture change takes time. Even if you tried all the ideas tomorrow, you might still hear crickets. It takes time to develop open communication and it will take some habit-changing for the employees to think more critically.
The more you ask for their input, the more they will start to expect those questions. Ultimately, better discussions will come.