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Leadership Today - Practical Tips For Leaders

Jul 8, 2022


Great ideas often get missed. This week we explore how to keep good ideas alive.



Welcome to episode 145 of the Leadership Today podcast where each week we bring research to life in your leadership. This week we explore how to keep good ideas alive.

I’m sure you’ve had the experience where someone raises a great idea and, for whatever reason, it is ignored by others and slowly dies. Equally, a confident person might share a not-so-great idea that gains traction just because of the popularity, enthusiasm or position of the person. The best ideas don’t always win.

In our teams we want to cultivate the right ideas. That means keeping an eye out for others’ good ideas and helping them to grow.

Researchers Satterstrom, Kerrissey, and DiBenigno identified five practical things leaders can do to cultivate others’ good ideas.

  1. Amplifying - this involves bringing the idea up at a later time. For example - Fiona raised a great idea about our marketing in our last meeting.

  2. Developing - asking clarifying to help you and others better understand the idea. For example - Can you tell me more about how that might work?

  3. Legitimising - publicly supporting an idea by sharing where you’ve seen it work. For example - Company XYZ tried something like this and it was quite successful.

  4. Exemplifying - performing a low-stakes test of the idea to gather more evidence. For example - We tried this approach with two customers last week and they were both positive in their feedback.

  5. Issue-raising - calling out the weaknesses in an idea so they can be addressed. For example - One potential challenge with this approach is the additional time required. How might we address that?

Being a great leader isn’t always about having the best ideas. Often our role is to help keep others’ ideas alive. 



Patricia Satterstrom, Michaela J. Kerrissey, and Julia DiBenigno, How the Best Teams Keep Good Ideas Alive. Harvard Business Review, May 18, 2022