I hate when people disagree with me.

I mean, come on! How dare they? I'm always right. My ideas are so profound and original that it must be pure defiance on their part to take a different viewpoint.

In case you're wondering, I'm being sarcastic. Hold the tweets, please.

The truth is, I've been a "boss" most of my life in some capacity or another, and it wasn't until a few years ago that I accepted and even embraced dissension in the ranks. Curiously, I enjoy the debate, and rarely put my foot down and insist that I'm right.

It took a few years of mentoring college students to realize that having a view of myself as being always right is extremely unhealthy. Some of these students are brilliant. They see things I don't. Now, I actively look for opposing ideas. Sometimes I jump on the bandwagon because I see my own bandwagon is a little rundown and clunky. It's stuck in the mud.

There's a trick to making this work, though.

Here's what I've learned:

First, you have to stop assuming you are always right. It's dangerous. Yes, as the boss, you are paid to have brilliant ideas and command people from on high. You are paid more than everyone else for a reason. (I'm being sarcastic again. Again: No tweets.)

What I really prefer, and the way to get unstuck from the trap of thinking you are right all the time is to let the wheels of teamwork turn freely.

This happened to me recently.

I had a certain view of a project and held tightly to a certain way of completing the tasks. I was holding too tightly to one course of action, but fortunately, I decided to loosen my grip. In a meeting, I released my rights to be right. I let everyone else weigh in, and then I let the entire group develop much better ideas. I watched as the team rallied around a better idea.

Now, I agree with Jeff Bezos who has talked about how there are times when you have to insist on a certain path. He suggests telling everyone to gamble on your decision, to ask them to let you try an approach they don't like and to see if it succeeds. I like that a lot.

Another idea? Try implementing a few ideas. Stick to your guns, but let someone else run with their ideas at the same time and see how it all pans out. Do both.

Now, the trick here is to never get firm and unyielding on your idea. Who knows, maybe you could be wrong for once. Being the boss has many perks, including a prime parking spot perhaps, but one of them is definitely not insisting you do things your way all of the time.

Try relenting once in a while. Step back and let people work. I prefer the role of the great encourager, the guy who simply fans the flames of brilliant ideas.

Few of them are mine these days.

Published on: Jun 17, 2019
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