A leader knows that he or she may be the smartest person in the room, but isn't smarter than the entire room. Use your team for good ideas.

Leaders have a combination of intelligence, charisma, character and experience. These are very difficult to define and even harder to teach. Which is good, because this article is not about any of these characteristics. It is about personal excellence, but that’s at the end of the article.
A leader may be smarter than any one person on the team. Sometimes even smarter than any two people on the team. But that doesn't make him or her all-knowing. It may make this leader able to analyze ideas quicker or more in line with the goals of the team, but it does not mean that ideas can come only from the leader.
An idea is good or bad on its own merits. It is a mistake for companies or teams to judge the quality of an idea based on who made or even when and where it was made. This is one of the points of this article. A great leader weighs and considers every idea, no matter from whom. And a great team volunteers ideas and does not wait for one to come out of the leader. The worst and most dysfunctional kind of team is the one where the members hint at an idea, until the leader “gets it” and articulates the idea that the team has been tossing to him or her. And then the team praises how smart the leader is. Two problems with this are that the leader starts believing only he or she has the good ideas, and team members cannot be evaluated on their skills and contributions. Consequently, team members can never grow and mature.
There are different kinds of smart. There’s the smart that comes from formal education. There’s the smart that comes from learning from your experiences. And there’s a unique kind of smart that comes from being so focused on a goal that the decisions made are positive in relation to that goal.
Leaders are usually very smart in these areas, especially the last one. But it is a mistake to think that the leader is smart in all areas. It is often a fatal mistake to think that the leader is the smartest in all these areas. A great leader is also humble enough to see where team members are better in specific areas.
Great leaders gather teams around them who are well educated. This keeps the leader up to date with the latest findings or scholarship in an area.
Great leaders gather teams around them who are experienced. The leader may still have the most experience in a particular area, but will not have the same experiences as his or her team. Leaders also may not have the most recent experience, especially front line experience.
Great leaders gather teams around them who are invested in the same vision. This helps the leader receive feedback and opinions from people who all want to see the venture succeed, but may have differing opinions about how to achieve that.
While the leader may stay truer to the vision or the plan, team members have their own perspectives and own experiences. Sometimes the leader may be too focused on the vision and unable to see or rationally weigh different options.
A leader invites all team members to suggest ideas. Because even if only one idea is good, it helps. And it's either naive or egotistical to think the leader can come up with all ideas all the time. This is the dangerous “cult of personality” which is not helpful to the leader or to the team. This was spoke of above. The leader and the team must be constantly on guard against the “cult of personality” developing. The danger for the leader is success without his or her growth, which could mean getting placed in a position of authority that he or she is woefully unprepared for. The danger for the team is twofold. Individually, no team member can grow and develop his or her personal excellence if everything is subjugated to an incompetent and immature leader. The second danger is being associated with this leader, and in falling just as fast when he or she gets placed in that position for which he or she is not prepared for.
So if you are a leader seeking to focus and refine your personal excellence, gather a team that will, if necessary. fight back. If you are a member of that team, beware the leader who surrounds himself or herself with a cast of sycophants. Tying yourself to such a team stunts your growth and leads to exact opposite of personal excellence.

Author's Bio: 

STRESS JUDO COACHING helps you focus on personal excellence in a number of ways. Go to our EXPERT PAGE for 3 free and exclusive reports, explaining The Truth (your current stress management program is impotent); The Remedy (the requirements of a program that eliminates stress); and The Overview (how STRESS JUDO COACHING can transform your life). STRESS JUDO COACHING was created by Rick Carter, based on dealing with stress during 20+ years as a trial attorney and 30+ years in martial arts. You can become a black belt when it comes to fighting stress.
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