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Managers Should Have all the Answers...Right?

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Managers and Answers

As a company manager (or owner), it’s your job to have all of the answers, right? Wrong. While you might feel accountable for finding/knowing/having all of the answers all of the time, sharing problems with the rest of your employees might provide some unexpected benefits for you, your employees and your business.

Sure, we’re taught that managers and business leaders should be strong, confident individuals whom employees should look to for help. 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 are able to 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 problems with their employees…instead of carrying the entire burden themselves:

Show People You’re Human

In his book, The Great Game of Business, 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 just perpetuates the “us versus them” mentality that employees have had towards management for years. Managers who try to be perfect end up hating their jobs…and people end up resenting them. Show employees that you’re human by asking for their input.

Build Confidence in Other People

Asking for someone’s help in solving a problem sends a very important message. It says, “Hey, I think you’re intelligent and capable. Your opinion on this issue is valuable.” Building confidence in other people is a manager’s job. If you do it well, and you do it often; you’ll see that your employees will start looking for opportunities to excel and perform at a higher level.

Learn Faster

As a manager, you learn faster when you teach others. Having to explain a process to someone else often reveals the true complexities of that process. The more you learn about how things work in your organization overall, the more confident you’ll be as a manager.

Develop Stronger 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.

Get More Shut-Eye

We’ve all lost a little sleep here and there worrying about a work problem that has not 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 the answers to come out. You’ll probably find yourself humbled and astounded with how simple some of the solutions will be. Undoubtedly, you’ll gain a new respect for your employees and their abilities to make educated decisions…and you’ll experience the freedom of not having to have all the answers yourself. Can you think of a time when your employees came up with a solution you would have never gotten to on your own?



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Topics: Leadership, Transparency

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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.