We don’t have a monopoly of great ideas

The beauty of Simon Sinek’s quotes or lessons is that deep inside; we already know most of the lessons he shares. If you watch his brief talks and read his books, you will think, “Hey, I already know this.” The value Simon brings is articulating the insight. 

This particular insight has already been at the back of my mind for a long time. Every time I witness someone trying to take credit for the companies or departments’ best ideas, I get this nagging sensation. I feel that something is off, but I cannot put my finger on it. Simon finally helped me put into words this thing that has been bothering me.

Walt Disney is a shining example of this quote. He created an environment where the best ideas would trickle upward. The leadership created an environment where no one person holds the monopoly of great ideas

If you step back and observe what a leader needs to do to set up such an environment, it’s not that complicated. The only speedbump is willingness and humility. Is the leader comfortable allowing others to come up with great ideas?

Ashley Head, the former Systems and Operations Director I used to report to, would keep quiet in all meetings he attends. He would encourage everyone to participate. Ashley would seek a quiet person in the room and ask him what he thinks. He has this knack for getting people to share. 

I asked him one day why he was so quiet in these meetings. “If I speak first, chances are, the people in the room may not put forth their ideas. It is a typical organizational dynamic. People are shy to suggest after the highest-ranking person in the room speaks.” Ashey replied. “I always recommend my leadership team to speak last in meetings. Another advantage I realized is that I get to learn from others.” he continued to say.

The lesson I learned from Ashey is quite profound. Allowing others to voice their ideas and suggestions is a powerful way of getting the best out of our team. It’s also an excellent way for leaders to learn new things. It’s a win-win situation. Ashley then joked in closing that leaders who like to dominate discussions should write a book instead of overpowering everyone from sharing their thoughts. Some leaders love the sound of their own voice.

Never attack any idea brought to the table. If you do, the person you embarrassed will no longer suggest anything again. Think about it, who wants to be shamed for presenting an idea? Unfortunately, I witnessed such events where the leader even goes further. After attacking the idea in public, he attacks the person who suggested the idea. There is never a justification for this. Everyone in the room stopped offering ideas for fear that they might be next on the hit list.

How do you create such an environment? Simple, leaders should have the humility to speak last and encourage others to speak up. That’s it.

We don’t have a monopoly of great ideas.

Stay safe,

Jordan Imutan
Visit my website for more articles www.servantleadersph.com
jordan@imutan.com (email)
@jordanimutan (social media)

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