Thursday August 7, 2008 #57
“Everyone you meet knows something you don’t… so politely and tactfully learn what it is. Conversely, everyone you meet doesn’t know everything you do…so be willing to graciously share whatever you can when you are asked.”
The first sentence of this quote was shared with me when I was a young manager in high school, learning about the importance of humility as part of the character of a leader. Once I grasped the truth behind these words, and practiced them in my daily life, my effectiveness skyrocketed. I have found that the majority of great ideas originate on the front lines: sales people, warehouse workers, etc., who truly know how to improve processes and find hidden waste and opportunities for profit. So get out of the executive suite, ask questions, and start listening!
The rest I found when I googled the first sentence to find the author of the quote. Peter DeHaan has added an excellent second element: gracious sharing of wisdom and experience. Once again, this is about getting out of the executive suite, spending time with subordinates all the way to the front line workers and developing an environment of accessibility wherein employees stop you and ask for your advice, wisdom, and expertise. There is an amazing amount of knowledge and experience in you – be ready and willing to share it. Not with pomposity, but graciously.