When one of your team members offers you a suggestion that you have already thought about but discounted.
Instead of saying thank you and smiling, many managers will respond to this situation by giving way too much information. For example:
“Yes I had thought about that but decided with the current focus on xyz now would not be the time”.
From the managers perspective this is a rational, open and transparent response.
But what does it sound like from the team members perspective?
There is a good chance that they will interpret this statements to mean some or all of the following:
- I am way ahead of you because I had already thought of that.
- I am cleverer than you because I can see why the suggestion is not that good (had you really forgotten about the current focus on xyz?)
- You are wasting my time by dragging me back to things that I have already considered
- Please don’t waste my time unless you have MUCH better suggestions to bring to the table
So instead just greet the suggestion with a big smile and a genuine thank you.
You might say that you will certainly put their ideas ‘into the mix’.
You might ask them how the suggestion might be made to working in spite of the current focus on xyz.
You might choose to give them some affirming feedback to encourage further sugestions in the future.
But mainly you just smile and say thank you.