Being forced to listen to other people’s opinions can be extremely irritating especially if you have already thought the situation through in great detail and come to a decision. Sometimes I like to imagine a world where I simply give out orders and everyone around me just gets on with them without any fuss or bother. Now wouldn’t that be great?!

Of course in our world of political correctness we are taught to listen but beyond that we instinctively know other people’s opinions are often the ones that make the most sense. According to Sylvia Plath, everyone one likes a dominant leader, however I have never been so sure. No one likes bullies and in democracies dictators are never tolerated for long.

I remember as a young boy my mother, once in a while reminding my father “you’re not in the army now dear.”  He, like many, had to learn that even in frustrating moments, that outside of the armed forces, instructions are mostly given in the format of suggestions. And opinions are invited from others, before actions are taken. And here comes the point. If someone is only offering their opinion for the sake of offering it, then it’s of little or no use. But if, on the other hand, they are offering an alternative solution alongside their opinion, then that is something else.

When I was running an extremely fast growing company I had a very reliable assistant who kept in close contact with the opinions of my colleagues. She was extremely intelligent and had a great sense of timing. So if I was pushing too hard or the body of opinion was veering away from my vision, she always knew how and when to align me with what they were thinking. In this way I could take time to reflect and strategize on the best way forward. Making assessments of the risks of overriding popular opinion, versus consensus management. And all this in the quiet and calm of my office.

But oh how often would I have loved to have said: “When I want your opinion, I will give it to you!” I guess this is where emotional intelligence kicks in; at the time where our strategic brain luckily overrides our emotional one.

Have a good week,