Why "I don't know" is the smartest leadership answer

Why "I don't know" is the smartest leadership answer | practice (split each time) | Making it work when your boss is a micromanager
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June 4, 2024
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Leading the Way
Why "I don't know" is the smartest leadership answer
(3quarks/Getty Images)
Saying, "I don't know," as a leader isn't a sign of weakness; instead, it shows that you know your team can often be smarter than you and have ideas and solutions you may not have yet considered, writes columnist Jason Aten. "As a leader, even though it can seem unsatisfying to not have an answer for everything, making bad decisions just because you want to look like you know everything is the one thing you should never do," Aten notes.
Full Story: Inc. (tiered subscription model) (6/3) 
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Put it into practice: Teams want an authentic leader who they can trust to be honest with them, even when they don't have all the answers, Aten writes. "It doesn't make you seem weak; it makes you seem invested in your team."
How well do DC participants understand TDFs? Find out in this quarter's DC Pulse.
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SmartBrief on Leadership
Making it work when your boss is a micromanager
(Nuthawut Somsuk/Getty Images)
A micromanaging boss may be giving you headaches, but they're also giving you opportunities to become a better employee and a better leader, leadership expert Marlene Chism writes. "I'm making a bold suggestion: Employees, initiate a difficult conversation with your boss!" Chism says, explaining five ways to do so -- and noting that Dr. Phil says, "You can't change what you don't acknowledge."
Full Story: SmartBrief/Leadership (6/3) 
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Put it into practice: You must define the specific actions that make your boss a micromanager so you know where to ask for changes. Try to find out if your boss is just over-enthusiastic or feeling too stung by another employee's failings to want to give you latitude, Chism suggests. Knowing about those traits or situations can help you approach your requests with a better perspective.
Read more from Marlene Chism on SmartBrief on Leadership
Uncover the hidden force impacting performance
Arbinger's latest survey revealed that 100% of workplace challenges that were reported, tie back to people and culture issues. Yet, cultural issues are largely underestimated as the culprit for workplace challenges. We've found an undeniable link between cultural strength and team performance. Download Arbinger's new research report to see the data results for yourself.
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Smarter Communication
Providing well-being benefits is a good start for employers, but to really invest in your employees' well-being, it's important that managers be more proactive, Christine Husbands of RedArc writes. "To be effective and truly embed a culture of well-being, communication with employees and training of managers needs to be ongoing," Husbands explains, sharing ways to make managers more effective in this role.
Full Story: HRZone (UK) (5/31) 
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Put it into practice: Managers need support and regular training on recognizing well-being issues and discussing any possible work-related solutions, such as flexible hours. However, leaders must recognize that managers can't be expected to shoulder it all; key well-being services must be made available and accessible through licensed professionals, Husbands says.
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You Need a Killer Answer to "So, What Do You Do?"
How many times have you been asked, "So, what do you do for a living?" A great response to this question can open doors. On this episode of The Insightful Leader podcast: an expert offers tips for fine-tuning your answer. Download now »
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SmartPulse
How do you deal with bureaucratic red tape that slows you down?
I respect the process and work through it. The process exists for a reason
 17.19%
I try working through the process but escalate the issue if I'm struggling
 61.72%
I try the process but as soon as I hit a roadblock, I work outside the process
 17.19%
I don't even bother with the process. I work around it to get things done
 3.90%
Are your processes slowing your organization down? While 17% of your people report respecting and working through processes, others will escalate issues or work around the process entirely when they hit roadblocks.

Processes matter, but make sure the ones you have balance the tradeoffs of compliance, safety and rigor with the need to get things done. If your people are working around your bureaucracy and process anyway, the process isn't having the desired effect.

Sit down with your team and understand the roadblocks they're facing. Review your processes to see which steps can be changed to make things more efficient. There needs to be a balance of process and operational effectiveness for the two to live in harmony.

-- Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, which includes TITAN -- the firm's e-learning platform. Previously, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a West Point graduate and author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."
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In Their Own Words
Hiring employees with the right skills, talents and passions for the business forms the foundation for success, which is then built on a model of servant leadership that gives those employees the support they need to flourish, writes Tom Sacco, CEO of Happy Joe's Pizza & Ice Cream. "When you encourage debate, welcome different perspectives and treat people with respect, you pave your own road to success," Sacco writes.
Full Story: QSR (5/31) 
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Daily Diversion
Un-brie-lievable! Paris gets its first cheese museum
(Pixabay)
Cheesemaker Pierre Brisson, who already owns a cheesemaking school in Paris, this month will open Musée du Fromage -- the city's first museum dedicated to the many varieties of cheese, from mild to overwhelmingly stinky. Brisson calls it "magical" the sheer number and variety of cheeses that are created from milk and says the museum will feature traditional cheesemaking demonstrations, hands-on experiences and, of course, tastings.
Full Story: Euronews (France) (5/30) 
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SmartBreak: Question of the Day
Auto accidents, of course, followed soon after motorized vehicles were invented. What kind of vehicle was involved in the first accident committed to record in 1869?
VoteDiesel
VoteElectric
VotePetroleum
VoteSteam
About The Editor
What method do you use most often to defuse emotionally charged conversations?
Gray rocking
 10.61%
Yellow rocking
 6.07%
Soft gray rocking
 12.12%
VAR -- Validate, Assert, Reinforce
 12.12%
Good, old-fashioned diplomacy
 39.39%
Walking away
 16.66%
Other
 3.03%
Candace Chellew
Candace Chellew
Chellew
It appears that "gray rocking" and its variations have not yet caught on with Leadership readers as a way to manage conflict. Instead, the poll shows that those of you who replied (thank you!) rely on good, old-fashioned diplomacy or letting your feet do the talking by removing you from the situation.

Whatever method you use, the best leaders are those who don't let conflicts fester and use empathy, curiosity and a search for common ground to lead the way!

If this newsletter helps you, please tell your colleagues, friends or anyone who can benefit. Forward them this email, or send this link.

What topics do you see in your daily work that I should know about? Do you have praise? Criticism? Drop me a note. And don't forget to send me photos of your pets, your office and where you spend your time off.
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It's got to come from the soul. Where else is it going to come from?
Grace Jones,
singer, model, actor
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