When setting plans for the future, control of who is involved and how much weight their input should be given, can be tough issues for leaders. I have two questions to help you decide if you should involve others in developing future plans.
1. Are the resources involved yours alone? In other words, are the dollars all coming from your personal pocket?
– If the answer is yes, then do anything you want. But, understand that your plan may not be as good as it could be.
– If the answer is no, it is time to figure out how you are going to get inputs.
2. Do you want the final product to be of higher or lower quality?
– If the answer is “higher” than you should involve others.
– If the answer is “lower” than I have no advice!
Do you get my point? Decisions made by a single individual are rarely as good as those developed with the input of others. But, asking for inputs can be irritating and intimidating; the results don’t always reflect our “perfect vision.” Specifically, it can be frustrating to ask for opinions and then listen as they share a view that is different from ours.
– Although we know that we should listen and record their input, hearing an idea that is different from our ours can tempt us to enter into a discussion where we push to change their opinion. Instead of getting input, we find that we are only asking for validation. Such a loss of opportunity!
– Or, we may be tempted to pollute their input by describing our “perfect vision” first and then asking for their opinion. But, we quickly find that either the other party “folds” and says in word or deed that we should “do whatever you want” or they give an input that isn’t what we had described. Why on earth would we shut down potentially great ideas?
But, when we offer opportunity for others to provide input and when we listen with an open mind:
– Our view of the project improves, giving us a better understanding of the problems and opportunities;
– The plan changes and a better one emerges;
– We improve our relationships with others and find resources we didn’t know were available to us;
– The plans of others are improved for, as we listen to them, they are learning from us;
– And, we grow as leaders.
Just a thought…This is one of those reasons that it is called “leadership” and not “dictatorship.”
“As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it…” I Corinthians 12:20-25