Once again, my friend Phil Clemens (CEO of Clemens Family Corporation (i.e. Hatfield Meats) has allowed me to share with you his monthly email. It seems to me that in these tenuous economic times, when many employees are feeling vulnerable about many aspects of their lives, including their employment, this article is especially timely.
Advert Advertise with us
Just by incorporating some of these ideas into the workplace, a smart business leader could not only benefit from ideas suggested by their employees, but increase morale when employees they see their ideas actually being utilized.
“The seven most important words a leader can say are: I don’t know… what do you think?” – Bill Marriott
Good leaders think they have to have all the answers. Great leaders may have many answers but know that when people are asked for input, you not only get some great ideas – you get buy in. People need to be needed – not used. By asking this question “I don’t know…what do you think?”, you get to know what your team is really thinking and if they have caught the vision of where you want to go.
Bill Marriott knew that secret of getting people engaged. He knew with every person who worked in the organization that he got a free brain with every pair of hands. Hands may do a lot of work, but when you engage the brain with those hands – you get people to work smarter and not just harder.
Great leaders know you get much more done by asking rather than telling. Some leaders still believe to old adage that people need to be told what to do or they won’t do it. Who knows the job best? – The person who does the job every day or the boss. Clearly, the person who does the job knows the job better than anyone and when you ask them about what they think, you have an opportunity to learn from them.
Marriott gives us seven words all leaders need to use on a regular basis “I don’t know….what do you think?” You elevate people when you want to know what they think. And don’t forget – when you ask this question – LISTEN – you will be surprised (most times very pleasantly) that they have some great answers. Not only do they have great answers – they then own the answer and will do everything in their power to make sure it succeeds.
Use the “free brain” that comes with every employee. It will become a winning combination for both you and your employee.
[As a side note – Marriott’s suggestion is also a great for raising children – especially teens. If they aren’t thinking in a right manner, you can do some great coaching which will pay great dividends later in life.]