No . . . What Do YOU Think?
From time to time, I like to bring you new and interesting concepts based on my past radio shows. Today’s innovative strategy is geared to my fellow business owners. It is based on the life experience and work of David Marquet, Leadership Expert, Author, and former Navy Submarine Commander.
We’ve become accustomed to thinking that a company’s “boss” knows all and gives the orders. But, just maybe, that isn’t the most efficient and cost effective way to manage a business. What is the alternative? It’s something called “intent-based” leadership. I’ll give you an example. An employee has a problem. He/she would normally bring it to the boss’ attention for a solution. Instead, with intent-based leadership, the employee would go to the boss and say, “This is the problem, and this is what I intend to do.” It is a method to get all employees to think like the CEO and to build up their leadership “muscles.”
Here’s another scenario. During a staff meeting, the boss completes a long talk concerning a problem and then says, “What do you think?” Everyone is naturally biased toward the opinion expressed by the boss. Instead, the boss could simply present the issue and immediately say, “What do you think?” Employees could write down their opinions on cards. Everyone’s thoughts are expressed and the leader’s job changes from one of driving consensus to one of making sure everyone’s voice is heard. The benefit? Employees feel valued and listened to. Even if their ideas are not implemented, they’re less likely to sabotage the solution.
To build team morale, a change in language may also be beneficial. Ask your employees to start using the word “we” instead of calling out individuals or departments. “We should have balanced the cash box.” “We should have ordered more supplies.” Like magic, this takes away all finger-pointing and excuse-making.
You may have already seen the implementation of this leadership technique in some restaurants and hotels. Servers and front desk workers are being given the latitude to make some decisions without having to go to managers. What is the result? Improved customer satisfaction and retention!
The transition from leader/follower to leader/leader is not necessarily an easy one. A leader’s instinct is to be in control (I know; I can totally relate!), but when you have the ability to give control and create leaders, you’ll not only profit from happier customers, you’ll have happier employees as well.