The Three Craziest Truths About Management That Will Blow Your Mind

You know that feeling when someone tells you something so outrageous, so mind-bendingly absurd that you can’t help but call BS? Well, strap yourselves in folks, because I’m about to drop some management truth bombs that’ll have you questioning everything you thought you knew!  

Truth #1: Your team doesn’t really care how smart you are.

Yup, you read that right. All those fancy degrees, certifications and training courses you’ve racked up over the years? They mean diddly-squat to your crew. What they really want is a leader who has their back, who listens, and who rolls up their sleeves to help when the going gets tough. As Michael D. Watkins states in his book The First 90 Days, “Prioritise learning about your people and their capabilities, not showcasing your own.”

Truth #2: The best managers avoid giving orders.

I can hear the howls of protest already. “But Bob, how else will I get things done?” Here’s the secret – instead of barking orders, try asking questions that guide your team to discover the right solutions themselves. This Socratic method builds engagement, nurtures critical thinking, and has them feeling invested in the plan. As Theodore Kinni noted in a strategy+business article, “The person who has the question…has the power.”

Truth #3: Caring is more important than knowing.

Mindblowing, I know. But hear me out – technical knowledge has a shelf life, but genuine care and concern for your people’s growth and wellbeing is a unlimited resource. When you show you care, you inspire discretionary effort and foster a trusting environment where people take risks and aren’t afraid to fail. As Patrick Lencioni wisely remarked, “A team is a group of people who trust each other.”

So now that I’ve sufficiently rocked your world, let’s get practical with some game-changing tips:

Foster Psychological Safety 

This one’s big. If people don’t feel safe to speak up, share ideas, and admit mistakes, you’re squandering huge reserves of insight and innovation. Follow these steps:

1) Model vulnerability by being the first to admit flaws and errors. This gives permission for others to do the same.  

2) Make it a routine to ask “What am I missing here?” This signals openness to other perspectives.

3) Adopt a “How can we…” approach to problems versus blaming. Look for solutions, not culprits.

4) Celebrate failed attempts, using them as learning opportunities. Reward intelligent failures.

Leverage the Simple Power of Listening

You have two ears and one mouth for a reason – listening twice as much as you speak is a a highly effective management technique. Try this:

1) During team meetings, reserve the first 5-10 minutes for uninterrupted listening. No cross-talk or jumping in allowed.

2) Rephrase what someone said to ensure you understand before responding. “What I’m hearing is…”  

3) Ask follow up questions to dig deeper into comments and uncover root issues or innovative ideas.

4) Be present. Avoid laptop lids, phones and other distractions that shout “I’m not listening!”

Unleash Their Unique Strengths

People perform best when allowed to utilise their innate talents and capabilities. Here’s how to tap into that magic:

1) Have each team member take a strengths assessment (e.g. CliftonStrengths, VIA Strengths). 

2) Discuss their top strengths together and brainstorm roles/responsibilities that align.

3) Reshuffle workloads based on complementary strengths pairings and personal motivations.

4) Find out their professional development interests and link growth opportunities to strengths.

There you have it – three shocking truths and actionable techniques to help you ditch the archaic command-and-control Leadership model in favour of a collaborative, coaching approach that brings out the best in your people. Who’s ready to have their mind blown and become a Engagement Ninja?