It's debunking time (2)

Myth - I need to have all the answers/ know everything.

Fact - It is unrealistic to expect anyone to know everything! Focus on being a lifelong learner but embrace the fact that you cannot know everything or have all the answers. Attract or leverage team members who know the things that you do not. Harness the power of shared thinking.

This is one truth that every team leader has to be able to live with.

I remember when I was promoted to Manager, I felt I had to have all the answers. I wanted my senior team members to feel they hadn't made a mistake by promoting me. I also wanted my junior team members to feel they had a capable knowledgeable leader. How would these happen if I didn't know all the answers? I felt so pressured, as you can imagine.

One day, it hit me - that was a totally unnecessary pressure. I did not need to know absolutely everything to be a great team leader. I was working with a team, each one knowledgeable in their own right. What if I focused on harnessing the power of my team instead?

I began to ask my team, "what do you think? how can we achieve this? what do you suggest we do to ...." and we would refine the ideas.

The results were mind-blowing! My team was brimming with ideas. More importantly, they felt valued because they knew, without a doubt, that their opinions mattered to me.

PS: This is not to say a team leader should be ignorant. I think s/he should be (technically) sound, but realise that s/he is not an island of knowledge.

Have you ever felt pressured to act like you know everything? How did it end? Do you now leverage the power of your team? Let me know in the comments section. I'd like to hear from you.

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