Leaders don’t have all the answers. Smart leaders solicit ideas and opinions from people. If everyone is thinking alsike, then nobody is actually thinking. Companies that promote the idea of ‘out of the box thinking’, ‘thinking differently’ or ‘critical thinking’ ‘ lateral thinking’ must be willing to collect ideas and opinions that will oppose the norm. Disagreements are nothing but a sign of ‘perspective power’. Differences can cause people to think, act and feel in new and different ways. This will lead to innovation if the perspectives are brought under a platform to collaborate together.
One of the finest ways to harvest the power of perspectives is through the collection of feedback from other people. As leaders you must ask your people about what they think of your strategy or proposal. Listen without judgement and thank people who contribute ideas. A better version of feedback will be feedfroward.
Listening to different perspectives is a sign of respect to other individuals and a humbling factor in leadership. When you learn to respect views that are different from yours, you are also being more open than narrow minded. Always look for strength in others view points and see those facts can anyway help you in improving your strategy better and fool proof.
When you hire people who disagree with you, you are also facilitating critical thinking in your organization. Differing viewpoints on industry issues or business strategies will give you a much better understanding of your company, industry, customers and competitors. This will help you in better decision-making. When you ask for your team’s opinions you are also debating decisions rather than taking autocratic or arbitrary ones. But, asking for others opinions should not lead to analysis paralysis or in slowing down execution.
Having a strong oppositional voice is the mark of good leadership. Rather than a sign of weakness, it demonstrates force of character and the ability to think and act strategically. More importantly, oppositional views can clarify the leader’s own thinking, sometimes changing his mind, other times sharpening a course of action.
Therefore hire people who oppose ideas and not oppose you. Disagreements should lead to healthy debate so that it will lead to better agreements where everyone is committed on the strategic directions you take together.
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”STEVE JOBS
Why not hire a new breed of people who can bring in perspective power. And why not provide a work environment where differences are articulated as ideas rather than attack on people. Why don’t workplaces be more inclusive with diversity. Why not bosses start listening ‘no men’ rather than paying attention to the pleasing words of ass kissing yes men.