Open Handed

Progress stops when we become married to ideas, programs and buildings – the best teams are filled with open-handed people.

We have all worked with someone who was closed-fisted. Closed-fisted people do not share ideas, do not like the ideas of others and they often become defensive when their ideas aren’t used. Closed fisted people are difficult to work with.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to see our own, tightly-closed fists. Ideas are personal so it is easy to feel a sense of rejection when an idea is rejected. We must be aware of this tendency and lead our own teams to be open handed. Here are three great ideas to make that happen.

3 Ways To Lead an Open-Handed Team

1. Keep your hands literally open.

I heard this idea from the staff at North Point Community Church. Because ideas are personal we often resist the best ideas for our preference. We have to have a willingness to abandon our ideas for the greater good of the team. In order to do that, ask each person to present ideas with an open hand. It communicates that we aren’t going to hold onto our ideas.

2. Start With Flexibility.

When we present ideas, let’s encourage our teams to show flexibility and say, “My idea isn’t the final idea.” The idea could lead the team to brainstorm ways to make the idea better and often spurs on a new idea that is even better than the original. When we show the team that an idea is not fully fleshed out, it encourages them to brainstorm ways to make it better. It also protects the idea sharer from leading with a closed fist.

3. Recycle Great Ideas.

Keep an idea notebook where great ideas can be stored. When a great idea is shared write it down. If a great idea doesn’t get used immediately, help the team see that it will be used at another time. It’s not, “NO” it’s simply “Not yet.”

I recently read an article on the band U2 and I was amazed at how many great songs started off as cut tracks from previous albums. Some of my favorite U2 songs were cut from an album only to be reworked and used on a later album. Your ideas can be used the same way.

Sometimes a great idea is not right for now – but it can be right for later. Store the ideas and you’ll help your team lead with an open hand. If an idea does not get picked now the team will know it can be used later.

We Want To Hear From You. What questions do you have about leading with an open hand? When is it most difficult for you to lead with an open hand?

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