One of the most impactful leaders I have ever met was a former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Years ago, he talked with a room full of college interns and shared this advice…
“You do not have to be the smartest person in the room. As a leader, it is your job to surround yourself with people who are better that you and listen. Listen to ideas. Listen to all of the points of view. Listen to what others bring to the table. It is then, and only then, you can make good decisions.”
I was always impressed with this point of view. To be sure, the person who said this at that moment was indeed the smartest person in the room (Princeton educated, nationally known economist). He was humble. He engaged others. He listened.
Great leaders listen. If you are filled with your own solutions, you will never be able to hear the great ideas of others. Your need to be in control and in charge will drain the life blood and creativity of your team. People will stop talking if every time they share an idea you shut them down.
Ask questions in a curious way. Encourage dialogue. Don’t tell them you have to think about it and then eight weeks go by and nothing has been done.
Your team is your greatest resource. Listen. You will be amazed at what people will tell you and do for you if you really listen.