Today, an effective leader is someone who takes contextual awareness into account. By listening to the whole team, they will access an otherwise ignored wealth of experience and information. It is always more productive to have the wisdom of the crowd on your side when engaging in open discussions.
If you want to lead using this open-minded business philosophy, you might find allies, but also dissent. This is precisely what you should be fighting for.
Here are some tips on how to conduct yourself for the best possible results:
– Attack ideas, not people
It is essential to avoid personal criticism when discussing any ideas. Never cross personal boundaries and respect your colleagues’ human dignity. Stick to the ideas at play and leave personalities at the door.
– Do not discriminate against anybody
If someone has a bad idea initially, don’t write them off the project. Deprived of the opportunity, people lose motivation and it will impact the overall morale of other teammates. Sometimes everyone can offer an interesting idea.
– Do not hesitate to ask questions
Contextual awareness requires properly handling criticism. Ask questions to make things clear before drawing conclusions. You might not have understood a good idea the first time you heard it. Do not lose your chance to discover new points of view concerning the problem you’re working on.
As it happens in traditional hierarchical structures, the information flows mostly top-down. Nevertheless, this channel must be fit to the real conditions via a bottom-top communication to a leader who has taken responsibility for empowering people to contribute to this process.