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Don’t let the HiPPO have the final say
When you’re in a meeting of any kind and you’re working to make a decision, one person often has the final say, even if they’re not the one that should really be providing the answer. Don’t necessarily listen to the HiPPO (“Highest Paid Person’s Opinion”).
Great leaders surround themselves with people that are experts in their given specialties. While it’s on the leader to make the final decision, it can be dangerous for them to speak first as others may just fall in line and agree.
A senior leader is present and no one says much until the senior leader does. People then fall over themselves to comment, with the comments leaning towards different ways to restate what was just said or to pander to the leader. Group think kicks into over drive, and anyone who had an out of the box thought quickly buries it along with their pride.
This often happens because the HIPPO (the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) is crushing any diversity of thought in the room.
The only person that can really fix this is the HiPPO, in one of two ways:
Refrain from giving their thoughts until others have had a chance to speak.
Create an environment of trust, where people aren’t afraid to speak up with their opinions.
A good leader will have solid thoughts to share and contribute to solving the problem at hand, but a great leader will make sure that everyone in the room is able to give their honest thoughts so that the best answer is revealed.