I’ve repeatedly told my team – everyone, not just managers – that one of their most important jobs is to keep me from making bad decisions. I need to know that I am going to get honest feedback from everyone. This gives me freedom to come up with crazy ideas without fear they will be accepted simply because they came from me.
- Reinforce the need to know the truth from your staff. Encourage people to challenge you. They may not do this initially. After all, you are the boss.
- When you propose an idea, actively solicit input in public settings: “What do you think?” “Is there something I am missing?” “What would you do?” It will take time. If you keep asking, people will start to use their voice.
- Once people find their voice, listen. The ensuing dialogue is the reinforcement needed to move your team into a positive feedback cycle. Use this time to explore your idea, tear it apart, defend it (without being defensive), and find viable alternatives.
- I realize I am crazy and I’m grateful that we didn’t act on my idea.
- A kernel of goodness is contained in my idea and the interaction results in a much better idea.
- I actually had a pretty good idea after all.
So go out and be crazy. Something good is sure to happen.