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Ask Score: Good Managers keep an open mind

Ask Score: Good Managers keep an open mind

Guest Blog

QUESTION: I have several employees who are quite vocal and think they are being helpful with their suggestions. However, I feel they are undermining my authority. What do you suggest?

ANSWER: It has been said that “A smart man knows what he knows, but a wise man knows what he doesn’t know.” 

We humans all too often accept opinions of others we agree with as fact and disregard any dissenting opinions.

This type of mentality has no place in the workplace. Owners and managers who think they know it all really miss the boat when they rely only on their intuition and disregard the opinions of others.

Some years ago, I became aware of a personality testing system developed by a company called Myers-Briggs. Based on answers to questions, people taking the test are identified as being one or a combination of several personality types.

No one personality type is best or better than any other. Instead, its goal is simply to help you learn more about yourself. The questionnaire is made up of four scales: extravert-introvert, sensing-intuition, thinking-feeling and judging-perceiving.

After taking the test, I was assigned a four-letter grade — ENTP, for extravert, intuitive, thinking, perceiving. In a nutshell, I was found to be a “big picture” idea guy, with varying interest in the many details necessary to facilitate the goals.

Others taking the test were rated as ISTJ, for introvert, sensing, thinking, judging. These individuals were found to be more cautious and detail oriented — the exact types to help me realize my goals.

This was an eye-opening experience for me because I came to realize that I must listen to and respect the opinions and experiences of others. These included friendly competitors and, most importantly, my good and loyal employees.

Going forward, I went out of my way to encourage creative thinking among the staff. We held monthly staff meetings where employees felt comfortable in sharing suggestions and ideas that they thought would add value to both the operational and sales goals of our independent insurance agency.

I would add that a wise man not only knows what he doesn’t know but has the good sense to ask questions and value the opinions of others, even if in direct conflict with your own. There is always more than one way of doing things. 

Gray Poehler is a volunteer with SCORE Naples. Business counseling on this and other business matters is available, without charge, from the Naples Chapter of SCORE. Call (239) 430-0081 or visit .
The SCORE business office is located at 900 Goodlette Road North, in the Fifth Third branch bank building.

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