June 6, 2010

When in company of boss, most guys speak the language of the boss. If the boss gives a strong opinion, 99% of his subordinates will give their opinion which validates the opinion of the boss. It's subordinate psychology. One always wants to be in good books of boss and doing something that validates the opinion or action of one's boss is a good way to earn brownie points. It's another matter that one may not believe in what one says or does to please his boss. As a result, decisions are taken based on the sole brain of the boss rather than the combined brain power of the team. This happens even though the intention of the boss may have been to utilize the collective wisdom of the team rather than force his own agenda.

Bosses need to understand this subordinate psychology. They must appreciate that putting forth his views too early may kill many ideas before they get a chance to be aired. A smart boss who wants to use the collective wisdom of his team must put forth a question and listen. Even the question needs to be framed in such a way that it doesn't indicate the opinion of the boss. If the boss, after asking the question, just prods others for their mind and keeps his opinion to himself till the time everyone has expressed their minds, chances are that the discussion will be more lively and fruitful. With this approach, ideas are judged by the merit they have rather than by the opinion of boss.

It is always prudent for a boss to speak his mind only after hearing the minds of his people. Any other way and the chances are high that the collective mind of the team will get coloured by the views of the boss.