| This question came from an email my dad sent me…
So stop and think about your own behavior for a minute. How do you manage? Do you ask questions encouraging contributions from everyone? Or, do think you have to provide all the answers?
My management style & leadership capabilities have developed over the years, as I learn more & realize the limitations & strengths of certain management techniques. The shift has been one of high control to inclusiveness & shared responsibility, mostly learned through trial by error & reflection.
In the former case, a management style of high control more closely resembles one where I thought I had to provide all the answers. In situations when I didn’t have the answer I felt uncomfortable, weak, & unprepared. Truth is, I didn’t have all the answers. I still don’t. No one does.
When I thought I needed all the answers I also thought I needed to be involved & leading every process. Truth is, that doesn’t work sustainably. There are only so many hours in a day & sleep is really important. When I hit a wall I was shocked into change. I realized that I couldn’t know all the answers nor do everything if my business were to succeed.
Step into my current management behavior. I ask questions. I have some answers, but not all of them. I share responsibility. I take responsibility. Delegate isn’t a foreign word. I am not involved in every process.
Contribution from everyone far outdoes one person’s effort. Diversity of opinion, shared work load, differences in perspective are just a few of the result benefits.
I still have a lot to learn. Getting feedback as a manager isn’t always easy, as even 360 reviews have their limitations. Understanding each other & encouraging everyone on the team to participate is a great start. Recognizing I don’t have all the answers was the first step for me to taking a more inclusive management approach…& a lot more gets done too!
Do you think you have all the answers? Think again. Question yourself. Ask more questions. Let others contribute. It works wonders!
mel, the venture gal