Here is a quick and easy way to develop your Leadership Skills by utilizing the power of synergy in your team. I use this exercise all the time, and despite it being obvious and low tech, it brings home the concept of why synergy is so important to a leader and a team in a mere matter of minutes.
Convincing your team that you, as a leader, need the combined brain power of every one on your team, can sometimes seem like your basic management ploy, stated with no actual plan to empower employees any more than you have to. Employees see right through that. In some cases the thought may be that “Here we go again, more useless rhetoric from the boss which will most likely end with me doing more work.”
This simple exercise will help you illustrate that you really are serious, and there are great things that can happen if you tap into the synergy of the group by empowering them to think and share ideas. Of course if you never use them you will have lost credibility – so follow through. Even if the idea is not viable, show your appreciation both personally and publically to the team member. Let them know that you appreciate the ideas – oh, and by the way, “Keep them coming.”
So here is the exercise. In a team meeting, ask everyone to jot down a list of as many green vegetables as they can come up with in 1 minute. Survey the room and you will see that most come up with 6-10 ideas.
Now pair them off and run the same exercise. Many will have similar list ideas but they will come up with more as well as the ones on their combined list. Usually 10-15.
In the third phase, survey the whole group and list in front of them all the unique ideas. You will most likely end up with between 35-60 ideas (depending on the size of the team). It is truly amazing the with the brainpower of your entire team, you can generate a minimum of 10 times the ideas as from a single person.
Yes it is a simple exercise, and hardly scientific. But it takes no more than 15 minutes, and it will show your team that you understand the power of synergy, and you hope they do as well. Restate that you would like to harness that power moving forward and you will energize the team (as long as you are true to your word.)