I am sitting on my hands. Waiting for the team to come up with an idea that I had when we started this meeting. Finally after 20 minutes of discussion someone mentions my idea. They own it… they resolved the issue and are ready to move on.
They own the idea now. If I had suggested it, they might have recognized it as the right answer but they wouldn’t have owned it.
Of course, the above scenario more often plays out like this: “Great”, I think. They have finally come up with my idea, by themselves. Now we can move on. But after just 2 minutes of discussion they augment the idea with their own concepts and make it more than I ever imagined. This would never have happened if I had suggested the idea.
Part of trusting the team and empowering them to make their own decisions is shutting your mouth. You might have a great idea. But if your team is as good as they should be at their job, they will come up with it too, or more likely they have a better idea.
Old patterns die hard, if I as the Project Manager suggest an idea, more often than not, people fall into the old pattern of command and control, and assume that I am giving direction not merely making a suggestion. If I do find that I need to seriously reinforce that it is just a suggestion, and that they probably have already thought of it, or that I am just looking for the team’s evaluation of the idea.
This takes practice. Most people like to talk. They like to share their insights, but if you trust that your people are experts in their jobs then you need to trust that they will have good ideas.
If you don’t have a habit of listening more than you speak it is going to take some work to get the team to share. They will be waiting for you to tell them what to do. DON’T