WHY BOSSES SHOULD BE THE DUMBEST PERSON IN THE ROOM
I once sat in a strategy session with a CEO who asked endless questions of his team before cheerfully answering most of them himself. His executive team dubbed him the Boomerang Boss. All good ideas returned to sender.
No-one likes to look like a fool, least of all a company leader. But sometimes asking the dumbest question of your team is the smartest strategy.
THE BEST LEADERS
According to Verne Harnish, author of Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t, senior leaders who act like they have all the answers guarantee organisational silence and exacerbate blindness. The end result is they carry the load of the company on their backs because no one else dares speak up.
“The best leaders,” says Verne, “have the right questions but turn to their employees, customers, advisors and the crowd to mine their answers.”
When I work with Verne’s Scaling Up methodology, this is one of the fundamentals I stress. Your executive team must feel they can contribute to strategic direction and engage in constructive debate.
DIMINISHER OR MULTIPLIER?
This is the premise of Liz Wiseman’s excellent book Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. Wiseman says there are two kinds of leaders:
- Those that believe really intelligent people are a rare breed and they are one of chosen few.
- Those who believe smart people are plentiful, and only need the right questions to guide their thinking.
Those in the first set are Diminishers while those in the second are Multipliers.
Here’s how the authors have identified the different facets of the leadership styles. Most people are somewhere on the continuum. Where do you think you fit?
|The Empire Builder||Underutilises talents and hoards resources||The Talent Manager||Makes the most of people’s attributes|
|The Tyrant||Suppresses people’s creativity and thinking||The Liberator||Creates a demanding environment that requires people’s best work|
|The Know it All||Directives designed to showcase their knowledge||The Challenger||Provides opportunity for people to stretch themselves|
|The Decision Maker||Decisions made abruptly, creating confusion and chaos.||The Debate Maker||Decisions arrived at through debate|
|The Micro Manager||Fail to delegate. Insist on personal involvement||The Investor||Gives people ownership of results and invests in their success.|
Remember, the very best businesses are those that don’t depend on their top leader to function well. Smart business leaders empower others to get the job done, with or without you. Any other approach is simply dumb.
SO WHAT MIGHT YOU DO NOW?
SCALING UP BUSINESS GROWTH WORKSHOP
If you are interested in further exploring how to leverage simple, actionable, and practical tools to help you have the "right people doing the right things right" why not come along to the Scaling Up Business Growth Workshop we are running in conjunction with our partner SWAAB on Tuesday 4th, December.
SCALING UP QUICK START GUIDE
Alternatively, if you would just like to learn a little more about Scaling Up - grab yourself a copy of the "Quick Start Guide".
Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make it...and Why the Rest Don't
Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter
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