One more trapping for leaders, given that they are always on stage, is that it is dangerous to voice your thoughts on partially processed ideas. Much as a strong leader is inclusive and agile, throwing half-baked ideas out before they are well vetted can lead to unintended consequences.
Statements that begin with: I think…, Maybe…, How about…, will inevitably be received as directives because they are not intentionally inclusive statements, but rather are perceived as the leader’s thoughts, and therefore their wishes. If it is not 100% clear whether something is up for discussion, or it is another time when the recipient needs to suck it up and do what the boss said, the default will be to suck it up.
Here are four ideas to help you manage and develop your creative ideas.
- Be explicit by explaining that you are spit balling and want input.
- Ask questions instead of making a statement
- In the time you set aside for thinking, don’t just come up with ideas and polish them, plan how you can get input from others, draft out questions to ask and then seek their input.
- Let someone else facilitate the discussion and then you can be a more creative participant. For regular meetings let others on your team lead some meetings. This creates good development opportunities for your team and allows you to share your thoughts and experience in an inclusive and creative way. For major sessions or retreats use a facilitator so the entire team can participate.
So, as a leader are you allowed to verbalize half-baked ideas? Yes, as long as you prepare yourself and your audience, otherwise you might receive a fresh loaf of half-baked bread.
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