In other words, good leaders empower others to solve their own problems and process their own issues.
As leaders, it’s not our job to fix anyone or to have any solutions. Our job is to help team members expand the horizons of their awareness, and to facilitate their taking responsibility for their actions and reactions.
Yet when we’re in front of the room facilitating a group or leading a teleconference, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that just because we’re leading, it doesn’t mean that we have to be an authority on the subject at hand. In fact, the amount of brilliance unleashed in your participants may depend on how well you let go of your need to have all the answers.
If we let go of control and allow others to lead…
(that’s a huge “if”), we will see people more engaged, having more fun, and achieving greater results. It will also take a huge burden off us as leaders, because now we will not need to know everything.
An Example of Good Leaders are Ignorant
You’re facilitating a group of people focused on accountability issues. One member of the group throws an impossible situation at you. You have no idea how to solve the problem presented. You are really stumped and you don’t know how to respond. If you begin thinking, “Wow, I’m supposed to be the expert sage on accountability here. I need to come up with something brilliant, or change the subject pronto!” Then you’ll probably get real uptight and offer little value to your participants. But if you decide instead to just admit what’s going on and say for instance, “Hey. You’ve really stumped me with this one. I really don’t know what to say. What does this bring up for the rest of you in the group?” You will have actually increased your level of credibility to the group by being honest. You will have empowered the group by seeking their wisdom and insights on the issue. Further, you’ll quite possibly get a more balanced perspective on the issue by drawing on everyone’s life experience.