'Whether it’s in political parties, juries, or boardrooms, groups of humans tend to make better decisions, and to be better at solving problems, when composed of individuals who see the world differently from each other.
Good decision making is a deliberate process of inquiry that advances you towards where you want to be.
Inquiry is a brave act. Risky. It declares 'I Don't Know'.
What boss will admit that? What other things might she not know? Why is she being paid the big bucks if she doesn't know?
Might she not know things that she needs to know for me to know things? I've got a job to do. Where does her not-knowing - leave me?
Inquiry is a brave act. It levels the power scales. The boss and I are equally ignorant. We learn the new thing together.
The good boss gathers people around her in her inquiry and invites them to tell her she's wrong and encourages me to watch. Brave. [The good boss is a teacher.]
Inquiry implies the boss isn't certain of her footing. She's unsure of the world and needs to know more. She's off balance. Vulnerable to a push from above or below.
Inquiry invites new information that may erase the old. It may call into question everything we assumed. It may even demand that the boss says: 'I was wrong.' Oh dear.
Inquiry is counter to the decisive, busy, brain-in-the-next-meeting, heroic boss.
Thus most bosses don't inquire. [Good bosses are rare.] They pretend to know. They make decisions using instinct. Or delegation (up or down). Or they do nothing and let entropy decide for them. We let them get away with it because he's the boss and we just want a decision - any decision - so that we can plug it into our Widget and have an alibi if the Widget doesn't work and go home and moan about the boss and our life.
A good boss inquires because she is curious. Because she is impatient in her advance towards her Widget which she knows lies beyond the Knowing.
A good boss doesn't decide with power. Or by keeping her workers ignorant. Or by pretending. Or mothering us by protecting us from the scary world of not-knowing.
A good boss knows that I Don't Know might be the three most powerful words in the dictionary.
[Let's speak them and see what happens.]