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Know when to leave the room

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

You may feel like holing up with your organization’s top minds to strategize your way out of tough times. But to draw creative thinking and deep examination from a group, stay mum.

At product-design firm IDEO, when ideas are flowing at a meeting, founder and Chairman David Kelley quietly slinks out of the room.
Kelley, known as one of the most creative people on the U.S. business scene, will interject when his input is required. But he avoids expressing his opinions during discussions to avoid stifling ideas. And he often leaves.

President Kennedy famously did the same thing in October 1962 during a Cuban missile crisis debate. He gathered a diverse group of experts, divided them into subgroups and encouraged them to express their opinions. Then he left—thus avoiding groupthink.

The lesson: It takes a wise leader to know when to leave.

— Adapted from “Management by Getting Out of the Way,” Bob Sutton, Work Matters.

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