Valuing the opinions of others

Previously on The Porch, we looked at other elemental skills for great leaders.  Today, we look at the element:

Decisiveness without Diversity of Opinions leads to disengagement”

No question, decisiveness in a leader is important. How many of us have seen leaders that simply could not make a decision in a timely fashion? A lack of decisiveness is frustrating and costly in time and resources. So, decisiveness is good, right? It is unless that decisiveness occurs without facts or the reasoned opinions of others.

Let’s look at a simplistic example… You decide to make soup this coming Saturday because the weather forecast calls for cold and snow. Hot soup sounds terrific! You decide to invite some friends and neighbors over to your house to share the soup. You decide that you’ll make corn soup… because that is the only kind of vegetable you have in the house and you don’t want to make a special run to the grocery store. You start making calls to invite others to your house for soup. You make the first call. “John, would you and Mary like to come to our house on Saturday for some hot soup?” John says, “Sure, what kind of soup are we having?” You say, “We’re having vegetable soup, but the only vegetable will be corn, so I guess it will really just be corn soup.” John offers, “Hey, we have some carrots. Can I bring those to add to the soup?” You agree and make the second call. Before you are finished making calls, your guess have offered to bring beef, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, celery, and onions. Now, your soup will be true vegetable soup! Someone even offers to bring some cheese and crackers to round out the meal.

This scenario plays out in our lives and workplace, as well. Sure, we can be decisive. But, our decisions may be based only on what we have to offer… the facts we have been provided, our own experience, and our own perspective. However, when we allow the input and opinions of others, we begin to see how the diversity and totality of all our combined facts, experiences, and perspectives can result in a much better, more informed decision. In fact, some may even offer completely different perspectives (e.g., cheese and crackers) that make the result even better and more complete than if we had limited the input.

So, hopefully, you can see from this example that, though we value decisiveness from our leaders, it is equally important to create an environment where we value the diversity of opinions and perspectives that can make our overall decisions more complete and better. Bottom line… great leaders are decisive, but they solicit and incorporate the varied viewpoints of everyone on the team. And, everyone on the team feels free to share their opinions whether or not they are in agreement with others.

Have a great day! Ah, vegetable soup does sound inviting this late January day.


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