Have you ever had “that” boss? You know the one. Tells you that your ideas aren’t worth pursuing, have exactly zero merit, and are just plain dumb. Then, pitches the same ideas to her/his leadership to broad acclaim and acceptance. Wait. What? Hurts, doesn’t it? And it makes me hopping mad!
I have had “that” boss, too. Fairly recently. You’d think that with a gazillion business books on leading people, the Internet where it is easy to find good quality “how to’s”, (Dude, ever hear of TED Talks?), and many funny-while-making-the-point, "how NOT to’s” (YouTube anyone?) it would be difficult to be a truly bad leader. He apparently made it his nefarious “mission” to make the work of our team irrelevant and unimportant to his leadership. Wait. What? Exactly how does that work?
Tell me, why would someone in a formal leadership role do any of this? Better question, how was this person actually put in a role of leading people in the first place? Only way I can resolve it in my own head, is to revisit this time honored quip, “giving new meaning to promoting incompetence.” Feel free to use it, too.
When I posted a meme with the same title as this post, one of my friends and colleagues wrote, “(this) Has been one of my greatest thrills!” This is the attitude to have when leading people. This right here. This attitude. This enthusiasm. This joy. This is the person who should (always) be selected to lead people. Always. Everyone wins.
Leaders should support their people, in every way possible. How? Here you go:
When a direct report enthusiastically brings their idea, spend the time. Discuss their methods, strategies, potential pitfalls, where the idea was “born” and why, explanation or how it would work, what success looks like… In other words, have a supportive dialog that demonstrates respect for the person and their ideas. Be there. Every time. Doing this is how to have engaged employees and to foster an atmosphere of trust and true idea exchanges.
As for every leader who steals their people’s ideas deserves to “reap what they sow”. (And, if I had my way, a special level of hell reserved just for them!) <wink>
Thank you for reading my small rant on unsupportive leaders, feel free to follow @LeaderIn140 on Twitter. I promise, the posts will not always take this tone. Follow, comment, share, and retweet, too!