June 9, 2011 / 10:50 PM / 8 years ago

Management Tip of the Day: Share a hypothesis, not a directive

A young Chinese job applicant is silhouetted as he reads job openings posted at China Human Resources Market in Shanghai March 11, 2004. REUTERS/Claro Cortes

BOSTON (Reuters Life!) - Next time you sit down with your team, try tapping into their good ideas rather than giving your usual all-knowing directives, says Harvard Business Review.

The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and HBR.org (http:\\www.hbr.org). Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

“While it’s your job as a leader to set the direction for your team, unit, or organization, being overly commanding deprives your people of a sense of ownership.

Next time you sit down with your team, instead of saying, ‘This is my view about where the project should head,’ try proposing a hypothesis. You can say, ‘Here’s my tentative view of the path we should take, but I could be wrong.’ Then encourage your team to disagree with you.

Of course, you must be willing to discard or modify your hypothesis if someone comes up with a better solution. This approach will encourage debate and give people permission to voice concerns.”

-Today’s management tip was adapted from “Managing Yourself: Extreme Productivity” by Robert C. Pozen.

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