Great leaders know their opinion doesn’t matter
One of the things I consistently see leaders do that undermines their team’s effectiveness is freely expressing their opinion. The best leaders know that their opinion doesn’t matter. What matters is the mission.
In most organizations as soon as the leader speaks, everyone is focused on pleasing the leader. At that point, the focus is on the wrong thing. Healthy cultures don’t focus on keeping the boss happy. They, instead, focus on serving their mission and achieving meaningful organizational goals. The entire team, not just the boss, is both empowered and expected to get results.
Like it or not in most organizations, as a leader, your voice carries tremendous weight. People will come to you and ask your opinion. Resist the temptation to answer. Expressing your opinion or giving them the answer is rarely ever the right thing to do. People coming to you to solve their problems and giving them answers can be tremendously seductive. Who doesn’t want to feel smart, to be right, and be indispensable? You can steal the show by giving them the answers or you can get out of the way and let your team be the star. It is a choice, but you have to be intentional because the default is to defer to you and your opinions.
So even if you do resist freely sharing your opinions, people will still ask you what you think. Train yourself to resist answering. Instead make them answer first, “What are your thoughts on what we should do?”
It’s okay to brainstorm and co-create a solution together, but at the end of the day the person responsible for doing the work should be leading the charge.
Success as a leader is when your team owns their own space, holds themselves accountable, and moves the needle towards fulling your organization’s mission. If your team is looking to you for most of the answers, you are limiting their success. It is a choice. Don’t let your opinion get in the way of your team’s success.