Idea Generator or Idea Gatherer?

There's a secret behind the success of the award-winning children's movie "Inside Out."  Business Insider recently took an inside look and shared what it was.

The secret - the leadership style of the director, Peter Docter.  Instead of trying to generate the ideas for the movie, Peter listened to other people's ideas.

During the movie's production, Peter walked around the Pixar campus and engaged key people in conversation about the movie.  He also gathered observations from his family. 

Peter modeled a characteristic of a great leader...being an idea GATHERER rather than just being an idea GENERATOR.  You see..great leaders gather the best ideas from the people around them when making decisions.  

Dache Keltner, who is a professor at University of California, says that listening is a key way to practice empathy - and empathy is the surprising route to power and influence.  Research shows that teams that are led by empathetic leaders are more productive and innovative.  Bottom line...power comes from empowering others. 

Which would your team say best describes you as a leader?  Idea Generator or Idea Gatherer?  If you want to be an Idea Gatherer, here's some important steps to take.

1. Don't try to come up with ideas by yourself.  Gather people around you and brainstorm together.  You'll soon find that the smartest person in the room is the room.

2. Forget about the spotlight.  If you're concerned about getting credit, you'll never be an idea gatherer.  Instead of shining, help other people shine.

3. Detach yourself from owning ideas.  See ideas as simply ideas...not owned by or attached to you.  This will give you the freedom to be a gatherer.

4. Listen a lot more than you talk.  You can't gather ideas while you're sharing ideas and not listening.  Learn to ask good questions and then simply listen...a lot.

5. Never make decisions alone.  Idea gatherers never fly solo.  They involve others in the process. 

The more wisdom you gather from other people, the more productive, creative and successful you and your team will be.