Do you feel pressure to come up with new ideas?

Things change so quickly these days, it seems we need new ideas and fresh thinking just to survive. We need to understand how our customers are changing. Will they still need us a year from now? What should we do to our products, distribution, or marketing to adapt to these new trends? Are they even trends?

Come on, people! We need ideas! Out with them!

It’s incredibly difficult to lock yourself in your office and simply create fresh, executable, successful ideas. How do you even start? What do you do for inspiration? Read a Steve Jobs biography? Buy a Magic 8 Ball?

Because it is up to you, isn’t it? You’re a manager, so you need to prove you deserve your title and earn your salary by coming up with big ideas. But boy, is that stressful.

The thing is, it doesn’t have to be.

If you’re a great leader, you know it’s not all on you. You know exactly where to find the best ideas.

They come from the people on your team.

Energize Your Team

Skilled managers build teams of empowered, engaged employees.

They are excellent communicators and empathetic coaches. They earn respect by always acting with honesty and integrity.

And their employees feel valued. When called on to help come up with new ideas, their teams are ready to go. They are happy to be asked and jump in enthusiastically.

Great managers know the importance of promoting the team and its members. They know that praise is often more important than monetary rewards. And when employees know their managers will give them credit for their ideas, they contribute fully, holding nothing back.

Great managers also know this is a time to keep quiet, that expressing their opinions puts a chill on everyone else’s. Their job is not to show how smart they are, but to nurture thoughts and insights from each member of the team.

They create a safe environment, one where all ideas are welcomed, and all viewpoints valued. When they feel safe, employees will say risky things that may be brilliant, or may lead to brilliance.

And because great managers build teams made up of people with diverse abilities, viewpoints and backgrounds, the ideas coming from these teams are much more likely to be successful with that other highly diverse group: the customers.

When this all works well, the team is rejuvenated. They’ve come up with fresh thinking about the company, the product, or the customer, and they can’t help but be proud.

And this break from the routine, this chance to exercise new mental muscles, may have unexpected results. Some team members may emerge feeling more self-confident. Others may have a new appreciation for their co-workers’ abilities and perspectives.

In the best case, when it’s all over, nobody even remembers exactly who had what idea or who contributed to what part of the final concept. Each member can legitimately claim credit for the success of the team, because without each of them, the result would have been different.

Without a word of self-promotion, you have shown your team and your company that you are a skilled manager. You inspired innovative thinking and new ideas, which was only possible because you built and nurtured a great team and you put that team first.

And the business is better off having the input of your team, their fresh thinking, and their ideas. No Magic 8 Ball required.


Photo by Camilo Goes on Unsplash

To learn more about how to be a successful manager, read Don’t Be a Dick Manager: The Down & Dirty Guide to Management. It’s the management training you never got, available on Kindle and in paperback from The audiobook is available from AmazonAudible and iTunes.

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