One of the major evolutions in the workplace is the shift from executing for immediate results to executing in order to build value over the long term (innovation). This is reflected in the expectations companies have for their management.
Leaders used to be expected to have the answers; now they are expected to set direction (strategy). To be successful, a leader needs to be confident enough to not know versus believing that power comes from knowing everything.
To “win,” it’s critical to foster an environment where people can offer crazy ideas, admit errors, and openly disagree without fear of ridicule or punishment. How can you encourage that type of culture?
First, make it safe to question and explore by exhibiting curiosity about others and their ideas. This will help establish strong connections. Make sure you also create opportunities for socializing to create shared experiences.
Second, set the expectation that constant small changes and experimentation are the norm. Fear inhibits exploration, analysis, and problem solving. Explicitly acknowledge that “try, fail, and try again” is normal.
Finally, look for ways to get a sense of each team member’s judgment. Decision-making often gets done in real time and having confidence that your team will make good judgments is invaluable.
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