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Psychology Today discusses recent research indicating that the more dominant a team leader, the less productive and efficient a team. The dominance of a team leader seems to discourage creativity among team members, even if that is not leader's intention.
If you are on a team with a leader whose strength is actually his weakness, utilize the following tactics to encourage the rest of the team to share ideas and collaborate more.
1. Ask for Clear Direction
This is where the strength of a team leader comes in very handy. Ask the leader for clarification on anything that is unclear. Ask for specifics as to what is expected from the team.
2. Highlight Different Ideas
Once the goals are clear, it is okay to explore and brainstorm. For example, "This makes sense for Customer Service, but how do we think Accounting will react?" or "What if we take another variable into account? How will this change things?" It is good to explore all possibilities and options before making a final decision.
3. Encourage Team Members to Speak
Don't let a dominant boss silence your teammates. You can do this politely and appropriately by asking other team members questions, either directly or to the group. "What are we missing here? Anybody?" is for anyone to answer. Sometimes you may say, "Bob, you did something similar last year. What do you think?" or "Tammy, what were telling me yesterday about this?"
The point is not to be pushy and put people on the spot, but rather to acknowledge their individual contributions to the whole.
4. Reward the Leader
As a good conversation ends, or as the team is finishing solving a problem, thank the leader for listening. "Thanks so much for letting us work that out," or "We could not have done that without talking about it" help reinforce the leader's behavior. Good leaders do listen, so you may sincerely thank him for being a good leader.
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