There are a lot of components to leadership. The characteristics that go into making an effective leader are vast. If I asked for a list, I bet I would get pages and pages. We look for a lot in our leaders.
One of the traits that I really value in a leader is their willingness to admit they don’t always have the answer. I believe that the best leaders aren’t those that feel they know everything, but those who know how to leverage the people and processes around them to find the answer. I talked about a piece of advice I received that really helped me understand this concept in this post. I have had to remind myself several times in my career that my job isn’t to have all the answers or to be strong in every area, but to understand how to coordinate the efforts of those that do have the answers and strengths I am lacking.
It isn’t always easy. Pride can certainly get in the way of asking others for solutions or leveraging technology to help us be better – which then proves that we had room for improvement, but in the end it only makes us better.
So how can we do this? Here are a few ideas.
Hire People Whose Strengths are Your Weaknesses. This one is really important when putting together a team. Where possible, you want to not only look at skill set, but also what other strengths an individual brings that you or the overall team is lacking. To do this you have to know what your weaknesses are so start there.
Present Problems and Ask for Solutions. Those around you can not offer solutions to things they are not aware of as problems. If you share problems as soon as you can you may come up with a viable solution that would have taken you days to discover on your own. Two brains really are better than one.
Be Open To Feedback. This one may be the hardest. Most leaders I know say they value feedback, but once you start giving it you realize that was only lip service. Using the collective wisdom of those around you means you are going to have to be willing to take feedback – both good and bad.
These are just a few ways to leverage the minds of those around you. It’s actually a relief to know you don’t have to do it all alone. Involving your team or others around you not only helps you accomplish more, but it also helps them feel more engaged, valued and invested. Just the type of employees we want!
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