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Leading Your Team: Cut the Dreamers Loose

If you have a good team… I mean a real good team, they will dreamers not just workers. While there is nothing wrong with having a team of workers, we all know we need skilled people who can get the job done, but we also need dreamers on our team. And the best workers are those that dream too.

The dreamers are the ones who are always looking for ways to improve. I don’t mean just looking to improve their own abilities, but improve the processes, improve the products, improve the services, improve the results and improve the business as a whole.

Dreamers can be annoying. They are the ones constantly bugging you to do Z rather than Y. Instead of complaining about wasting time in their work, the dreamers are the ones that actually find ways to be more productive.

So how do we use the dreamers to our advantage? Cut them loose. Give them the go-ahead to do and try new things. Yes, many times they will fail, but when they succeed, that success will often out weigh all the failures along the way, allowing your business to grow in ways you never imagined.

Not all of their ideas will good ideas and it’s important to keep some of them in check, but instead of just shooting down the idea, spend some time looking over the pros and cons before making a decision. If you’ve got a crazy-idea dreamer on your team, make them come up with their own list of pros and cons before presenting it to you and then go back to them with your own. Some will be a flat out “no”, but others might be plausible.

I think Google sets the benchmark for cutting their dreamers loose… and nobody will argue with Google’s success. They encourage all of their engineers to spend 20% of their time on their own projects. This has resulted in Google producing a lot of bombs, but has also created some products which have been a remarkable success for the company, such as GMail and Google News.

You may not be in an industry that allows such free time, but encouraging your employees to develop new ideas and dreams big dreams will not only produce a team that enjoys coming to work every day, but will create a job worth coming to. Encourage all your employees to dream, and cut them loose to implement some of those dreams.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

One Response to Leading Your Team: Cut the Dreamers Loose

  1. Igor M. says:

    Stoney … good point.

    Many times CEOs, VPs and other managerial staff just shut the “dreamer” up because they just don’t want to hear someone who does not fully agree with their strategy and ideas. They just don’t feel like dealing with em.

    What they miss out on is great ideas, strategies that they might have overlooked and opportunities they do not see.

    I am not saying that every idea coming from a “dreamer” is good and you should run with it, BUT managers should not shoot down someone just because that person has a different point of view on the subject.

    It takes a confident manager (CEO, VP, the boss) to listen and sometimes learn. This is how you grow.

    If you’re the smartest one in your company, you are either insecure or you have fools working for you. Good luck with that strategy.