Should Leaders Have all the Answers?
As a leader, I certainly don’t. Well, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
I think the most crucial reason It is not bad is that not having all the answers can be an excellent opportunity to keep your team engaged and functioning for the future.
Employees feel valued and recognized when they have an opportunity to contribute and offer solutions. I think that as a leader, seeking out suggestions from the team increases the motivation of employees.
Having a solid relationship with your team is an excellent leadership quality mainly because it makes the impossible possible. If you know all the answers, it can hinder collaboration and team alignment within the team. As a leader, not knowing all the answers certainly engages the team in problem-solving, leading to their engagement and commitment, ultimately boosting team morale with a feeling of ownership and autonomy.
I think the most impactful of all the reasons is that the team members get a sense of mastery, which is an intrinsic motivator. This is huge because it helps build a culture of learning.
Life can be boring if we know all the answers; curiosity leads to new knowledge. When you think about it, great leaders are not the people who know all the answers; instead, they are the ones who ask the most powerful questions.
As a leader, you are not employed to know it all but what is essential is learning how to support, guide and coach your teams. This should never be a competition with your team members but a compliment. A leader who steps back can ask the team for answers when they do not know the answer, making everyone see the value they can bring to the leader and the team.
Leaders who show vulnerability, embrace ambiguity, take calculated risks, and give permission to their teams to experiment, will ultimately make themselves more approachable, and others will be more willing to contribute their ideas and creativity for the road ahead.