Sucking the intelligence out of your employees


Share on LinkedIn

Ask a kid a stupid question and you may get a smart answer. My son was asked this question as a baseline warmup on a test:

“Can birds fly?”

His answer is a classic:

“It depends on the bird. Penguins, for example, are flightless.”

Clearly, at age seven he wasn’t at that point so many of us reach, where we automatically dumb our answers down to match the limited expectations of testmakers and other constricted grownups.

Be careful: It’s easy to drive your employees to this state of brain-numbness. You do it it when you only ask them questions that, in your mind, have an already-known answer. When you define best practices without explaining what makes these practices “best,” and without providing encouragement and latitude to find or create a better (“bestest?”) practice where appropriate.

It’s a moral imperative to let employees be involved in the design of their work, in a real and meaningful way. So don’t feel that you have to dumb things down for them. Your employees, in fact, may actually be smarter or more resourceful than you. And you’ll get a lot more out of the money you pay them if you anticipate this possibility.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Micah Solomon
Micah Solomon is a customer service consultant and trainer who works with companies to transform their level of customer service and customer experience. The author of five books, his expertise has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, NBC and ABC television programming, and elsewhere. "Micah Solomon conveys an up-to-the minute and deeply practical take on customer service, business success, and the twin importance of people and technology." –Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here