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Managers Should Have All the Answers... Right?

managers should have all the answers... right blog

Leaders everywhere are naturally expected to have all the answers. Unfortunately, this is one of the long standing myths of management.

While the expectation is for you to know all the answers and you feel like you should have all the answers all the time it just isn't sustainable.

You're bound to break at some point and many leaders find sharing obstacles the company faces with their team provides benefits for everyone involved.

Sure, we’re taught managers and business leaders should be strong, confident individuals whom employees should look to for help and it's still a good thing to be that type of person. But in today’s business world, transparency is becoming more valuable to both managers and employees.

Companies who operate in a transparent fashion have better communication and can spring into action quickly when a problem arises. Part of being transparent is sharing information; good and bad.

Here are a few reasons why managers should consider sharing business issues with employees…instead of carrying the entire load by themselves:

1. Show you’re human too.

Jack Stack quoteIn his book, The Great Game of Business®, author Jack Stack says, “You send the wrong message if you try to be perfect, if you always want to solve problems yourself.

It’s true, pretending like you have all of the answers can perpetuate the “us versus them” mentality employees have had towards management for years.

Managers who try to be perfect can end up hating their job and their team can end up resenting them. Show you’re human by engaging in candid conversations, knowing when to admit your mistakes and/or asking your team for their opinion or input on projects.

2. Help build confidence in your people.

Living up to your leadership role in business can leave you thinking you're the only one who needs to be confident. However, asking for someone’s help in solving a problem sends a very important message. It says, “Hey, I know you’re smart and capable.  You have ideas that can help and your opinion is valuable.”

Building confidence in your team is a manager’s job. If you do it well, and often; you’ll see your employees will start looking for opportunities to excel and they'll begin to perform at a higher level.

3. Fail fast and learn quick.

Leader teaching about scoreboardsLeaders know that learning from mistakes and being quick to evaluate your next step is imperative to any organization's success. By teaching your team how to be quick on their feet and make decisions easily, you will build a team who have no issues failing and bouncing back.

Explaining a process to someone else can often reveal any extensive complexities and shine lights on any breakdowns in the system.  The more you learn about how things work in your organization overall, the more confident you and your team will be as a whole.

4. Develop strong contingency plans.

You cannot succeed if you don’t fail sometimes. Jack Stack says, “If you’re not prepared for failure, it’s going to take you by surprise and knock you for a loop. So you have to manage with the understanding that things may not work out according to plan.”

When you have more eyes on the problem, you’ll come up with multiple ways to respond to any given situation. That way, when you have those inevitable failures, you always have a contingency plan you can put into action.


5. Remember to breath.

We’ve all lost a little sleep worrying about a work problem that hasn't been resolved. Focusing on work when you’re trying to relax is anything but fun.

If you had other people working with you to help solve nagging work problems, you’d certainly have to spend less of your personal time agonizing over work.

By sharing problems with the rest of the workforce, you generate a level of creativity that allows answers to come out. You’ll might find yourself humbled and astounded with how simple some of the solutions will be.

All_hands_in_as _a_team

Undoubtedly, you’ll gain a new respect for your employees and their abilities to make educated decisions. It's also likely you’ll experience the freedom of not having to have all the answers yourself.

It's a wonderful feeling when you know you can trust your employees to come up with their own solutions. Many leaders find their ideas are better then anything they could have come up with on their own. And at that point, you'll finally be able to breath. 


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About The Great Game of Business

Our approach to running a company was developed to help close one of the biggest gaps in business: the gap between managers and employees. We call our open-book approach The Great Game of Business. What lies at the heart of The Game is a very simple proposition: The best, most efficient, most profitable way to operate a business is to give everybody in the company a voice in saying how the company is run and a stake in the outcome. Let us teach you how to develop a culture of ownership, where employees think, act and feel like owners.