Effective managers have a secret. It’s subtle and powerful.
When it comes to facilitating conversations with their team, they weigh in last. Whether the group is brainstorming how to change the schedule, approach a new project, modify a procedure, or introduce a new product, the process is the same.
As the manager, they share their thoughts last.
Effective managers keep in mind they’re in the “people development” business. When they’ve pulled the team together to discuss something, they make point to hear everyone’s ideas first. They know if they speak up too soon, they might never know what others really think. Instead, they might hear what people think the boss wants to hear.
Here’s how it works.
Start with something like this: “Let’s talk about how we should structure this proposal.”
Then bite your tongue and wait for them to start talking. During the dialogue, limit your input to asking for clarification or perhaps asking for input from another member of the team who hasn’t spoken in a while. Beyond that, do not offer your ideas until everyone has the opportunity to weigh in.
Here’s some huge benefits you can reap from this:
- You’ll reinforce the idea that we’re all in this together.
- You’ll be able to gauge everyone’s ability to think about an issue. (Who needs more coaching, who’s coming along nicely?
- There’s a good chance you’ll hear ideas that hadn’t occurred to you before.
- You’ll encourage your staff to “speak their truth” rather than regurgitating what the boss has already said.
- Last but not least, your team will appreciate the approach. They’ll come to realize that you believe in them and value their judgment.
Next staff meeting, instead of saying, “We need to talk about (fill in the blank). Here’s some of my thoughts. (Blah, blah, blah) What do you folks think?” say:
“We need to talk about (fill in the blank). What are your ideas?”
Then bite your tongue for a few minutes. Gather their thoughts and then share yours. You will build a stronger team, earn their respect, and maybe get a fresh notion or two.