I recently heard some colleagues taking about a potential new hire they had just interviewed. During the conversation, one of the team members turned to their supervisor and asked, “So, are you going to hire this person?” To which the supervisor replied, “You tell me.”
From a leadership standpoint, I loved this supervisor’s response. In those 3 short words they conveyed to their team that:
- This was a decision the team would make, not just the leader.
- They valued the team’s input.
- They trusted the team to know best whether someone would be a good fit.
As leaders, it’s important to seek input from those we lead when their insights can aid in the decision making process. When we do, we not only help our organization make better decisions, we also increase the likelihood that those involved in the decision making process will buy in to the decision as well.
It’s easy to put a plan together when you’re the only person creating the plan. As soon as you get another person involved in the planning, it gets even more difficult, because the other person has their own thoughts and beliefs about how the plan should look. And you can be assured that their plan is not 100% like yours.
The larger the group, the more challenging it becomes to reach agreement because there are so many different ideas, beliefs, and perspectives that are shaping each person’s idea of what an ideal plan or strategy should look like. This gives me an appreciation for the work required of a large group to come to an agreement. And by “large group”, I’m referring to any group with greater than 1 person.
Being aware of differing ideas, beliefs, and perspectives in a team environment reminds me that just because someone has a different idea or plans than I do, doesn’t mean that they’re against my plan or ideas, or that they “just don’t get it”. Rather, it reminds me that they likely have a perspective that I don’t or a belief that I don’t hold. Whatever the case, they are bringing a proposal that aligns with how they see the problem, and also how they believe it should be solved. And that’s good, because without their input, I would not have considered their perspective.
The next time you’re in a group of people that are trying to create a plan or make a decision, resist the urge to become frustrated when people don’t come to the same conclusions that you do. Instead, see it as an opportunity to understand how another group or person might view the situation. Who knows, you might even have your own perspective changed.