Today’s blog on our leadership series features Jennifer Paylor, a People Engineer with IBM. In this article, Jennifer shares a step by step approach every leader can adopt to help bring their team’s ideas to life.
The leadership series presents a collection of IBM leaders sharing their leadership experiences and also top tips to help you grow your career and become an effective leader.
By Jennifer Paylor
Are you in tune to what is going on around you and your team? Staying in tune is the ability to deeply listen for clues and re-imagine possibilities. As a leader, listening to every intricacy and creating a sense of harmony on your team that makes progress over time, takes the ability to tune.
We can envision the future when we are in tune with one another and understand each other’s needs. This kind of listening is essential to cognitive ideation that can have a positive impact on the world. There is much debate around how many thoughts a person can generate per day. Some researchers suggest that a person has 70,000 thoughts per day and others say around 20,000. Either way, people have thousands of thoughts per day and those thoughts may bring up problems that need a solution or ideas that will shape the future. Your ability to listen and re-imagine puts you in the most advantageous position to be captivated by endless possibilities.
Now imagine this as a “Leader in Tune!” A team of people will have hundreds of thousands of thoughts at work each and every day. There is a possibility that at least one of those thoughts will have the potential to turn into a meaningful idea. In order to position yourself to capture and maximize on the ideas your team might have at work, start to intricately consider the individual needs of your team members. What does each team member need? Listen to what is underneath their ideas. How can you help them to bring their ideas to life? Below are my three top tips to lead in tune and bring your teams’ ideas to life.
1. Embrace the notion
The first step is embrace the notion and do not look for ways to immediately discount the idea. Lean not onto your own understanding. Play with the notion of the idea and just go with it for now. Entertain the possibility of it all. Accept the idea as a gift and start to put yourself in shoes of your team member and carefully watch and listen as he or she is unwrapping the package. What do you see? What do you hear? How does it make you feel inside to see the wrapping paper and the ribbon being removed? Are you having good thoughts or not so good thoughts? Do you feel a sense of trust or fear? Are you patiently waiting to see what is inside? How does this excite your team member or not? By doing this, you will be in a great vantage point that will help you see and consider how the idea can best play into the future of things.
The second step is to toy with the idea and invite the team to play along. More minds mean more fun and more imaginative power. Your team will start to enjoy this kind of teaming and their energy levels will increase. What is the team hearing? Who is playing and who is watching the fun? What kind of future do they see? Notice the questions and the diverse thoughts coming from the team.
3. Understand the idea and make a decision
The last step is to decide what you and the team will do with this idea. What is it worth to you and the others? How will this make a difference? Does it share similarities with other ideas? Do you keep it, share it, or let it go? Talk it through and understand the rationale behind the team’s decision making.
In the end, your team will earnestly support you as a leader if you learn to stay in tune and bring harmony to their ideas. Get into the habit of looking for the best position to stay in tune and maximize the ideas of your team. Notice when you are out of tune and what you will need to do to get back in tune. Don’t forget about how much fun it is to play with ideas that may shape the future.
Stay tuned for more blogs on our leadership series and drop a comment below to let us know how the series is helping you and your team.
Discover what you can do at IBM: http://ibm.co/jobs