“Listen to the fool. You might learn something.” – Plato

Successful leaders are the ones with the strong vision and the ability to inspire and motivate their team.  This inspiration or motivation can come in the form of new ideas and as a leader it is our job to listen to the ideas presented as even the newest member will have something valid to add to the equation.

A new person to the team allows you and the other group members to view things from a different perspective.  They will have the innate ability to point out things that other more experienced team members may just assume because they have “been there, done that”.  Gaps or different perspectives might be innocently overlooked because the process is already familiar to the majority of the team.

One of the best things you can do as leader is encourage your team to ask questions.  A simple question could expose the gaps in your systems or your training processes.  It could show you a better way of doing things.  It gives you the opportunity to refresh the whole team’s understanding of why things are done a certain way.   Above all, it gives you the opportunity to establish an open and confident working relationship with your new team member.

John F Kennedy said that “leadership and learning are indispensable to each other” and as a leader it is your job to listen and learn – to everyone – at all levels.  Our own perspective comes from a sum of our experience.  Even when we are at differing points on the experience ladder, each perspective is as important as the other.

Showing that you value everyone’s contribution is as rewarding to the contributor as it is to you.  The most obvious way to show you value a contribution is to listen to and answer a question. Your goal of performance excellence is one step closer as your team realises that you value each individual as well as the overall team as a whole.

Remember the old saying that says “there is no such thing as a stupid question.”  That’s the message you need to get across to your team.

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