Something I’ve learned (and re-learned): If I want engagement and input, then present what I’ve come up with as a draft. D.R.A.F.T could stand for “doing right after freeing thought.” It’s amazing how many ideas are improved if you’re willing to accept input.
People are much more likely to lean in and help when they sense an idea or proposal is evolving and still malleable. I suspect this is fundamental wiring in our species, selected for because cooperation is essential for survival in risky environments. Using the term “Draft” invites good ideas to come out from hiding into the daylight. Draft mode reduces the risk of sharing.
When you need the organization to make a change–and isn’t that what leadership is fundamentally about?– then getting engagement in the change process up front helps enormously. People respond when they know they’ve been heard.
You’re not obligated to incorporate every idea and suggestion. The leader still has decision-rights.
Asking for input is a generous act of leadership. It demonstrates humility and a willingness to put organizational success ahead of your own ego.
To be clear, there are times when dictatorial statements are appropriate, indeed, required. This is not pure democracy. The all-dictator, all-the-time leadership model has a limited term of effectiveness, and history will not look upon your legacy kindly. It takes maturity and wisdom to recognize the minority of situations when dictatorial statements are the right way to go.
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