Being the boss or being a manager implies that you should know best, and your approach is the right way of doing things. After all, you have to have known what you were doing to get to the position you’re in, right? That’s true to an extent, but one of the most important qualities you can have as a leader is the ability to listen to others and take advice from people who know more or have better ideas than you. It’s not always easy to achieve, but the best leaders are able to listen to outside input from any sphere and then make their own judgments.
Taking expert advice
Even if you are an outstanding entrepreneur and you are very successful in your field, there will still be aspects of your life and business that other people are more skilled at. At times it is best to listen to advice rather than ignore it, particularly if a subject may concern an issue that you may not be fully familiar with. It is never too late to stop learning, and through learning, you can grow as a person and be a better manager of your business. For example, if you own stocks and shares, you will naturally have an interest in the stock market. Would you be better off choosing investments at random, or listening to stock ratings buy advice from expert traders? Again, you might wish to check their recommendations for yourself, but paying heed to their advice is more likely to make you money than following a whim of your own. The same principle applies to your business. Judgment may be needed on some of the advice you receive, but generally being open to suggestion and guidance can go a long way.
Taking advice from your employees
People in specialist or outsourced roles such as accountants and lawyers are well-placed to offer you advice on their area of expertise – after all, that’s why you employ them. Listening to their advice is sensible, but the wisdom is in fitting what they are telling you into the wider context. If your staff alert you to a problem or make a suggestion, this should be something you encourage, because by listening to them you will earn their respect. They will very often have more insight into a specific situation than you, and you can use their knowledge to help you form a complete picture. Your decision will then be based on the combination of factors involved, which is where your ultimate responsibility lies. You could well find that you have staff who are full of good ideas, and whom you can nurture for the future of the business.
Appraising your own performance as a boss is never easy, but if your staff doesn’t seem happy, examine your listening skills and see if you are open to hearing what they have to say. The final decision will still be yours, but the more relevant information you have, the better your decision is likely to be. By showing you are willing to listen you can actively make progress should needs must.