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Managers: Don’t ask if you don’t want to know

Paul Glen | May 18, 2016
Everyone likes being consulted ahead of a big decision. But asking staff for opinions when you have no intention of really considering them is worse than not asking at all.

Second, be honest with others about whether you’re looking for input or validation. There’s nothing wrong with consulting people when you already have a strong opinion. Just make sure that they understand the context of your questions. Start out by letting them know that you think that you know what you want to do but want to solicit feedback on your ideas or to consider alternatives before proceeding.

And if they do contradict you, don’t criticize their ideas; share your dilemma with them instead. It’s much better to hear, “If I were to do what you suggest, how would I handle this other factor?” rather than being told, “That won’t work!”

So if you’re not open to other opinions, don’t ask for them. Your staff may feel bad about not being consulted in the decision-making process, but they will definitely feel worse if they sense that you have asked with no intention of giving their ideas serious consideration.


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