Allow Others to be Smart
Do you need to be the smartest person in the room?
In Liz Wiseman’s book, Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, she invites leaders to assess several key questions: Are you the genius or the genius maker? Are you a Multiplier (someone who uses their intelligence to bring out the best in others) or a Diminisher (the “smartest person in the room” who shuts everyone else down)?
Leaders who struggle with allowing others to be smart are often driven by their ego, insecurities, or a desire to jump in and top any idea. Here are three skills you can use to empower and engage others to showcase their creativity, experience, and perspectives:
– Consider the percentage of time you spend talking versus listening.
– Decide when to be the expert with the “right” answer, and when to allow your team to work through the process of coming up with it themselves.
– Step back from being the driver of the discussion and ask someone on your team to take the lead.
FROM MESS TO SUCCESS: ALLOW OTHERS TO BE SMART
– Read Multipliers and take the complimentary online assessment that comes with the book purchase. It will rock your world and help you become a genius maker. Your future employees will thank you for it.
– Assess your paradigm: Are you comfortable surrounding yourself with people who are smarter? Do you hire down to keep your stature high, or do you hire up to raise the quality and success output of all your initiatives?
– During your next 1-on-1 with a team member, ask them to sincerely tell you what it’s like being in a professional relationship with you.
– Invite a team member to lead a project meeting (with or without you in attendance). Step back and stay out of their way.
– The next time you lead a meeting, ask a trusted colleague to take inventory of the percentage of time you talked and solved problems, etc. Given your awareness that the inventory is taking place, the time you spend leading might be less than normal. But it could still be instructive and give insight into any accidental diminishing tendencies you might have.