Dealing with a Boss Who Has Too Many Ideas

By Harvard Business Review
January 10, 2019

Visionaries can be exciting to work for, but also overwhelming. Here are four strategies to work with a leader who overwhelms you with thoughts.

Visionary bosses can be exciting, fun and innovative. But with all their ideas, they can also feel overwhelming. Here are some strategies for working with a boss who is inordinately creative:

Foster mutual respect. If you’re overwhelmed by your boss’s creative ideas, most likely you are more of an action-oriented person. Avoid developing a judgmental attitude and focus on mutual respect. Look at your differences as complementary assets you each bring to the team.

RELATED: Leading Creatively − Fresh Ideas Are Always in Demand

Recognize that not all ideas require action. Creative individuals can think of 100 new ideas before breakfast. Keep an email folder or another “parking lot” for ideas your boss comes up with that aren’t related to current projects. Add new ideas to the parking lot without feeling compelled to take further action.

Explain the time commitment. If your boss wants to pursue a new idea that would take a substantial amount of time, break down the cost for him or her. Is he or she comfortable with that allocation of hours and budget?

RELATED: Use Emotional Intelligence to Get Your Ideas Across

Come back to the plan. Instead of shutting down an idea your boss is excited about, redirect your attention back to the team’s monthly or quarterly plan. Ask questions such as: How do you see this new idea fitting in with our current goals? Is this idea something we could consider for next year?

Copyright 2018 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.

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