I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that during the first decade of my career, I was consistently led by managers who lacked the ability to listen to their team. Whenever I requested something, their immediate response was always “no.” And if I persisted, I would either be fired or transferred to a different department. These administrators reminded me of strict parents, constantly saying “no” to their children’s requests: “Dad, can we eat pasta tonight?” “No.” “Mom, can I sleep over at my friend’s house tonight?” “No.” I understand why some parents adopt this approach, but they do so out of fear of losing control and letting the family fall apart. However, I believe that involving children in family decisions from a young age leads to a better outcome for the whole family. In a similar vein, managers who constantly say “no” are not influential leaders in my opinion.
My professional life turned for the better when I was hired by a manager who not only gave me the job, I wanted but also listened to and responded positively to every idea I had. It was years later that I realized there was a significant difference between a leader and a manager. A true leader can inspire and develop future leaders by embracing the ideas and input of others. In contrast, a manager may be able to efficiently run an office until their retirement, but they may not have the capacity to develop future leaders. This distinction highlights the importance of finding leaders who are not only knowledgeable and experienced but also open-minded and inclusive in their approach to leading a team.
After working with such a leader, I was inspired to build my own business, and I strove to be a good leader for the nearly 150 employees who worked for the company. I made a conscious effort to never immediately say “no” to my team’s requests and ideas. If I couldn’t give them what they wanted at the moment, I simply responded by saying, “I’ll think about it.” This approach not only helped me build a strong and productive team but also allowed me to continue to grow and improve as a leader. By being open-minded and considering the perspectives of others, I was able to foster a positive and collaborative work environment that led to successful business outcomes.
Saying “I’ll think about it” instead of simply saying “no” can be more effective. It helps maintain open communication, fosters trust, and ensures that decisions are made with the best information available. It shows that the leader is open-minded: By not immediately rejecting an idea, the leader is sending the message that they are willing to consider it and are open to new ideas and suggestions. This can help to foster a culture of innovation and collaboration within the team.
Also as a leader sometimes you need time to make a rightful decision. Saying “I’ll think about it” gives the leader time to consider the proposal and make an informed decision. This can be especially useful when the leader needs to gather more information or consult with others before making a decision. By not immediately rejecting an idea, the leader is inviting the team to discuss it. This can be an opportunity for the team to provide additional information, clarify their position, and find common ground.
In my experience, the most critical aspect of avoiding immediate rejection is that it fosters trust between a leader and their team. When a leader says, “I’ll think about it,” it demonstrates that they value their team’s input and are dedicated to making thoughtful and informed decisions. This approach can help to establish a positive working relationship with the team and build trust over time. By being open-minded and taking the time to consider all options, leaders can develop a more collaborative and supportive work environment.
- team building
- positive work environment
- effective communication
- employee engagement