A 5-Step Plan for Seeking Input For Leaders Who Tend to Exclude People
You’re spending time with people whether you seek input or not.
You invest time including people, or you squander time resolving the consequences of excluding them.
Excluding people creates a self-inflicted crisis.
Excuses for not seeking input:
“Excuses are the skin of a reason wrapped in a lie.” Billy Sunday
- It takes too long.
- It creates complexity.
- Teams don’t understand all the issues.
The results of not seeking input are the same as excuses for not seeking input.
When you don’t seek input, progress takes longer, confusion creates complexity, and teams don’t understand all the issues.
3 results of not seeking input:
#1. Compliance replaces commitment when people feel excluded.
Compliance and conformity eventually become mediocrity and resistance.
#2. Decisions ride on speculation.
A leader who doesn’t seek input has a ridiculous ability to misjudge what others think.
#3. Teams become less relevant when you act in isolation.
The real reasons leaders don’t seek input:
- Inflated egos. You think you know what’s best for people you don’t respect.
- Listening is hard. Lack of restraint makes listening impossible.
- You’ve already made up your mind. Closed ears reflect rigid minds.
A 5-step plan for seeking input:
#1. Craft an intention statement.
We’re working to….
We have an issue we’re working to resolve.
When possible, seek input before crafting an intention statement.
- What issues are currently holding us back?
- How might this challenge be an opportunity?
Include the human dimension. How might this challenge make us a better team?
#2. Set expectations.
- I’m seeking input from several people. Use terms like, gathering, exploring, and asking.
- Avoid giving the impression that you can follow everyone’s suggestion.
#3. Ask questions.
- What do you think?
- In your opinion, what are some ways we might …?
Say “some” not “best” when seeking input. Don’t say, “What are the best ways to improve this situation?”
#4. Summarize results.
Why don’t leaders seek input?
What are some ways leaders might improve their ability to seek input?