One of the biggest traps leaders fall into is thinking that they need to be the most competent person in the room – the one with all the answers. Why is this a trap, you may be asking yourself? Two things;
1. It limits you and
2. It stifles contribution and creates incompetent teams.
Let’s deal with the latter first. If you are not allowing others to direct the conversation at times, you will stifle those that are quieter but more knowledgeable. Let’s face it, you know what you know, but you don’t know what others might know. How are you directing things to ensure everyone is able to share what they know?
Many leaders are tempted to have all the answers as a means to inspire confidence in their teams. Often though this has the opposite effect on some and causes them to have self-doubt and be intimidated, closing down contribution and discussion.
Switched on leaders know this is a trap to watch out for. Perhaps you would be willing to share a few of the ways you use to engage others to share their knowledge and ideas. What have you found most effective?
Now to point 1; how does being the most competent and knowledgeable person limit you? You might know that successful leaders often surround themselves with experts who are more knowledgeable in their subject matter. The implication is clear, if you are the most knowledgeable person in your team, you are going to become the bottle-neck for growth and achievements.
If you are willing to provide opportunities for others to speak, you will discover if you have created this limit for yourself. If this is the case, you can change this by firstly being aware of the ratio of your contributions to others and learning a few simple questions that open the space for others.
Perhaps as a start, as you join your next meeting, hold back and see where the conversation goes. Ask a few curious questions that generate new ideas.
Self awareness is crucial for you to build your capacity and as you do you provide this as an example for others to follow.