Don’t Change WHAT You Think… Change HOW You Think
The way you think has gotten you this far – and that’s great.  You are smart and successful.  You have strong skills, innovative ideas and you’ve worked hard to get where you are. But if you want to get even farther, you need to be a better manager.  And that means thinking differently.

You are a thinker. You think about where you want to go next and you think about how you are going to get there.  Now think about this:  if you want to get the most out of people, you need to let THEM think for themselves.

It is time to for you to get out of the way. You have hired smart people and trained them well.  So leave them alone!  Focus on ways you can support them instead of telling them what to do and how to do it.

Here’s what you can do to help:

  • Keep them focus on solutions, not problems
  • Encourage them to think for themselves instead of following directions – even your directions
  • Let them think all the way through a solution – even if you see it is not the best one – so they can learn from the process
  • Be positive and encouraging about what you see going right
  • Be accessible – let them ask questions and come to you for guidance rather than instructions

Letting employees take ownership  — and allowing them the room to do the job they were hired to do – is not always easy.  But giving people more responsibility and support has been proven to make them happier and more engaged.

Engaged employees are productive employees.   These are the people who want to do a great job… and who are more likely to stay with you longer.  Unfortunately, current statistics showing that almost 75% of workers are not engaged at work.  That means 3 out of 4 of the people who work for you are phoning it in – and that costs you money. So this change in thinking isn’t just about you and your own personal growth… it’s also about the success of your business.

In addition to contributing to overall happiness in the workplace (which is huge for everyone) and increasing employee productivity and retention (an enormous cost savings)… letting your employees do the thinking for you is good for your business in yet another important way.  You only know what you know.  It is important to look at a problem – and a solution  — from someone else’s perspective.

Perspective is a tricky thing.  You can never be certain you have it – and it is nearly impossible to know the exact moment you lose it.

This is business, and you want to think clearly and objectively.  And for the most part you do.  But even the most pragmatic of us think with both our heads and our hearts.  Like it or not.

The truth is, you are never truly able to separate your emotions from your decisions (and this, by all accounts, means you have a conscience and is in fact a very good thing).  Yet as employers we tend to be focused on WHAT people are doing or thinking rather than on WHY they doing or thinking it.  And discounting the WHY is a big mistake.

Everyone you work with is there to do a job, but they bring their own personal experiences and point of view to work with them.  Take the time to understand not just what someone is saying, but also where they coming from. Don’t miss an opportunity for some fresh perspective.

Remember… it all comes back to “Thinking Differently”.  So don’t spend so much time focusing on the “thinking” that you overlook the importance of the “differently”.

Your thinking is what brought you here… your differently is what will take you to where you want to go next.

Ask yourself…

Am I really letting my team think for themselves?

What can I do this week to get a fresh perspective from my team on a specific project?