David Colman: Embrace the perspectives of your employees
- January 28, 2008 7:49 AM |
- By Michael Hlinka
Money Talks is a collection of daily columns from The Business Network, which airs weekday mornings on CBC Radio One at 5:45 a.m. ET (6:15 a.m. ET in N.L.).
By David Colman, a partner with TriOpus Group in Regina
(Listen to the original audio)
I just read something in a book that stopped me in my tracks. It said, 'There is no such thing as logic. If there was, we would all think the same way. There are only perspectives'. I immediately discounted the notion, but it wouldn't leave me alone. The more I thought about it, the more sense it started to make.
Recently, while passing through Heathrow Airport, my attention was grabbed by several advertising posters for a major worldwide bank. The first poster showed people sunbathing on a cruise ship. The caption was simple - it was the word 'Pleasure'. Next to that poster was another that showed a picture of someone hanging from a mountain. Its caption was simple too - It was the word 'Pain'. Next was the cruise ship poster again, but this time it bore the word 'Pain' followed by the mountain climber poster and the word 'Pleasure'.
All of a sudden, the concept that there are only perspectives started to gain some credibility in my mind.
But what has this to do with leaders and leadership? As leaders, invoking the trump card of logic and common sense, can result in narrow-mindedness and herd mentality when it comes to decision making. As the late writer and critic Joseph Krutch said, "Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence".
So what is the value of perspective to you as a leader? There is, of course, one viewpoint or perspective and that is yours. You may call it a logical viewpoint. But when it comes to making the right decisions, there are several perspectives within your team that need to be considered. The perspectives of the sales leader differ from the HR, marketing, audit, and accounting leaders. Some of your team members may want things done now, other may want them done right, while others may want to consider the impact on employees and customers. Each one on your team members brings a different perspective to the table.
I recently asked a group, "What would things be like if everyone you lead thinks exactly the same way you do"? Some said, "It would be wonderful, we'd get so much done". Other said, "It would be World War Three".
Embrace the perspectives of your employees. After all, as writer Rita Mae Brown said, "If the world were a logical place, men would ride side saddle".
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