No One Has ALL Of The Answers, It’s true
As an employer, it is tempting to want to appear strong and all-knowing, especially to your employees. But honest leaders are those who recognize that employees are often better at their role than their employer would be. Let me explain…
If you start a business at the age of 21, you won’t have much success convincing anyone that you know it all. But what if you are 36? Or 46? The same advice holds true: “Know what you don’t know – and don’t be proud about it.”
In this approach, genuine leaders are not afraid to admit that they don’t know it all. In fact, most owners of successful businesses will tell you that the key is in hiring people who are more talented than they are. Surrounding themselves with people who know MORE than they do.
Through necessity, I am open about where the gaps in my knowledge and experience lay. It would be foolish to be otherwise. The key is in finding ways to close these gaps. And because our organization is relatively small, this mindset is imperative. One of my favorite quotes is by management thinker The leader of the past was a person who knew how to tell. The leader of the future will be a person who knows how to ask.
Play To Everyone’s Strengths
I believe that being transparent about where you stand and asking good questions can be a powerful strategy. This belief collides with the current trend for “authentic leadership”, which can be defined as “being the best version of yourself”.
Being an honest leader – both with yourself and with your team – means you are able to openly identify your strengths and try to channel your weaknesses as positively as possible. Some people strive to hire employees who are just like them. They believe this will allow them to fit in better and keep things running smoothly. I have found that the most valuable employee is the one who has a different mindset. A way of looking at a situation from a different point of view.
There’s no way anyone person could have all the answers, so it’s not credible to pretend you know it all. No one can be an expert in everything, so it’s far better to understand where your strengths and weaknesses are and build a complementary team around you that you can trust.
Be Authentic From The Start
I believe that a leader’s job is not to know everything about the business, but to know how to get the best from their teams. Asking people you lead for advice and help is a brilliant way to earn respect from them. Admitting when you’re wrong is vital and using the experience and knowledge of your teams is essential to any business’s success.
However, contrary to popular misconceptions, honest leaders open about their vulnerabilities require bravery. In fact, opening yourself up to any kind of risk requires courage. Yet the payoff is massive. When staff is encouraged to do their role in their own way, they take ownership and pride in the outcome. As confidence grows, so will their abilities.
This will empower your team and let them know that you value their opinion. That you value what they bring to the table. This kind of feedback is what will keep employees deeply vested in their work and will bring out the best in them.
Mari Sandifer | Director of Marketing & Business Development
Mari joined Rektio as Director of Marketing and Business Development in 2020 after spending over 25 years in corporate finance and 3 years as a business owner. She holds a BS degree in Marketing and an MBA in Finance from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Her CPA license is inactive (and morbidly obese).
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