Since we are in the midst of performance review cycles in most of the organizations, here’s a series of blogs on handling different bosses and subordinates. The first one – how to handle the ‘Ideas Guy’

It was a cold windy day and Madhav was flustered. It was not the cold – it was something else that caused his mind to be so agitated early in the morning. His boss was coming back from her holiday today. She was well intentioned – no doubt about that. She was jovial, friendly, warm. However, there was something that caused Madhav and the rest of the team to sit up and spend anxious hours before meeting her – especially after a break. Well, Anisha – his boss – was a smart thinker, coming up with great ideas and she loved sharing it with the team. In fact, Madhav felt that she was a fountain of ideas. Her ideas were like the chocolate fountain, that Madhav’s kids liked at a restaurant. Looked tempting and delicious, tasted amazing but too much of it gave you a stomach upset.

Anisha on her part, took pride in her innovative thinking. She simply believed that her ideas were like the spark for ignition. The more ideas she shared, the more motivated her team would be to become creative.

But what happens when you have an ‘Idea Guy’ as your boss? The ideas that the boss shares seem relevant and irresistible. So, subordinates like Madhav chase them, trying hard to execute them. But the next day, the Boss comes up with another idea, yesterday’s idea forgotten. The team realises after a few attempts that it is better to stand still than to hustle. And more importantly they stop thinking of anything new. Why put in the effort of coming up with new ideas when someone is already doing all the thinking?

I am sure many of us have encountered a boss like this or have a subordinate who comes up with a new idea everyday.

As a subordinate or a boss, you need to respond when ideas get thrown on you. While you can’t control the number or type of ideas that your boss may come up with, you can surely control your response. Here’s one quick tip:

Ask questions: Usually the ideas that get thrown up in such sessions are just ‘ideas’ – no one has thought through the nitty-gritties of it all. The tendency of most teams is to get swept away in the wave of innovation and creativity, awe struck with the seeming brilliance of a new thought. We sometimes add in our bit to the idea just to look as intelligent as the boss.

The thing to remember is that the boss may be just tossing ideas for feedback or your reaction. The best thing would be to seek clarifications, ask questions around the specific idea – getting him/ her to think in the bigger context and not just the ‘spur of the moment’. Well, if the idea does not have the merit, it will surely die its natural death at this moment – and phew, you, just like Madhav would have learnt how to handle this crisis.

We have some more tips on how to handle the ‘Ideas Guy’ – bosses and subordinates. It might help for you to learn these useful tips before your next discussion with your boss. Write to us to know more