I recently listened to a podcast of Harvard Business Review (IdeaCast) featuring Marshall Goldsmith. Goldsmith “is a world authority in helping successful leaders achieve positive, lasting change in behavior. Dr.Goldsmith is the author or co-editor of 22 books, including What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.”
All that to say…the man has a clue what he talking about.
He was asked about the need some leaders have to “add value” to employees ideas. The article and the comments are here.
This hit me as a truth that needs to be brought out.
When an employee or volunteer has an idea or action plan, they also have a huge amount of ownership in that idea. The likelihood that they will work hard to make it happen is very high. When they come to the leader with this idea, what they are looking for is approval or additional resources to make it happen.
Most leaders incorrectly assume that the employee or volunteer is eagerly awaiting a “better version” of this idea from the boss. You have seen it and maybe even done it. We, as leaders, somehow feel compelled to offer additional insights or options to the presented idea. It is our way of “adding value” to the idea. That’s what we are supposed to do. Right? Make things better…
When we do that, we actually decrease the likelihood of success. Why? Because we took ownership away from the employee. The idea is no longer really theirs – but our version of it. As such – they are less committed to seeing it happen.