You’re the owner/founder of your company. So, most likely that means you have a bit more chutzpah and smarts than everyone else in your organization. But, do you delude yourself into thinking that you know more about EVERYTHING else than everyone else does? It’s easy to fall into that trap, because as we all know “the boss is expected to have all the answers.”
There are so many pitfalls to this delusion:
- When you follow it, you lose trust in the front line of your organization. You also put an increasing amount of pressure on yourself.
- Your front line will stop thinking and will wait for you to decide everything. This slows down the company.
- The information and ideas you need to make the best decisions, and lead, will stop coming to you. This makes the decisions harder to discern, further slowing things down and making all your decisions more risky.
- Eventually, it’s pretty easy to come to the conclusion that your business is so completely different than all others that no one can really help you, not even outside experts and peers. This puts your company at further risk.
What you can do instead:
- The first thing to do is to admit you might be a genius at a few things, but most likely it’s only a few things. It’s certainly not everything. There are only one or two geniuses like Steve Jobs in every generation, and it took him many years to realize his genius. Remember, he was fired from his own company and had to learn about collaboration elsewhere before he was able to make Apple into what it is today.
- Accept that FINDING the right answers is what’s important. It’s not knowing all of them. Lead with questions; ask lots of them.
- Focus on identifying the problems and the opportunities. Then lead by asking questions of your team to bring out all the data and the potential solutions (this is called being a “multiplier”).
- Make the assumption that your team is “smart enough” to figure things out. Expect them to do so. You”ll lift your expectations of your team, and they will rise to the occasion. Ask any successful teacher about this. It’s called the Pygmalion Effect. High expectations bring high results. The best teachers have high expectations of their charges.
- Hire people who are smarter than you, especially in the areas where your experience and knowledge aren’t so strong.
Become the decider on the answers. As you lead, you don’t need to be the man/woman who knows all the answers.