Leadership Nudge – KNOW ALL, TELL NOT
I am going to give you this two by two matrix that describes different models of leadership. Now most leadership lives up in the KNOW ALL, TELL ALL world. The leader knows all the answers so he or she gives all the orders, and since they are the ones giving all the orders, they better know all the answers!
When I was ordered to the USS SANTA FE, a ship I did not know the technical details of, I dropped down into KNOW NOT but still TELL ALL. Why? That was the habit. Submarine Captains gave orders. It is not a good long term strategy.
When I made the decision that the problem was me, that I needed to keep my mouth shut and stop telling the crew what to do, I became a KNOW NOT, TELL NOT leader. Again, not a good long term place to be.
Eventually I learned the ship and I learned it very very well. I knew as much as anyone could probably know about the submarine. The question is, do I go back to being a KNOW ALL, TELL ALL leaders?
I ended up being what I call a KNOW ALL, TELL NOT leader. The lesson IS NOT don’t know your job! The lesson is know your job, but resist giving your people the solution when possible, because that is when they start doing their leadership push-ups! Try saying; “Hey, what do you think?” or “What would you do if I weren’t here?” That’s when you are going to be developing leaders.
My leadership nudge to you this week is this:
The next time your people come to you with a problem you know the answer to, resist telling them what to do. Let them tell you how they would solve the problem. The minute you stop telling people what to do, you start developing leaders!
Let us know how it goes!