Sticky solutions to your everyday business challenges
Question: I’m a new manager at an accounting firm. I hear a lot of advice about how leaders should listen. Can you give me some guidance on how to be this effectively? I’m not sure where to draw the line between letting everyone give input and making a decision that may be unpopular.
Answer: As a leader, one of the greatest skills you can build is the ability to tap into the collective intelligence of your team. Many first-time managers think they need to have all of the answers, or hesitate to ask for input because they don’t want to seem inexperienced or indecisive. The fact is, the best leaders are not those who have all of the answers, but the ones who know how to ask the right questions.
We suggest that you take King Arthur’s Round Table approach. The Round Table broke the tradition of the king seated at the head of the table and making long pronouncements while everyone else listened. By eliminating hierarchy and making collaboration easier, King Arthur discovered an important source of power – organizational intelligence – that allowed him to unite medieval England.
King Arthur collected the best ideas from his team’s organizational intelligence. He showed interest in others, and created an environment that kept self-respect intact. When your team members know that you value their opinions, they unify behind you, and are committed to the success of the organization over their personal success.
Let it be known that you value and respect the opinions of your team. Let it also be known that you are ultimately responsible to make the final decision. Sometimes you’ll be right. Sometimes you’ll be wrong. Either way, you’ll have the respect of your team, and they will stand behind you because you stood behind them.