At an IoD lunch I attended, where Jack Welch was being interviewed, someone from the floor asked him a question relating to how he felt about the huge amount of time he must have spent in meetings he attended as CEO of GE.

His answer was that for meetings to be valuable what he wanted was to go into a room where the other attendees were smarter than him and knew more about the subject matter. Otherwise, why have the meeting? He would be better just telling them what he wanted done.


This, I think, provides a real insight into managers who only feel secure when they believe (often incorrectly) that they are the most experienced / have the most knowledge of their particular subject matter. My own experience has taught me this is not true and when I look back over my own career, the business initiatives that I have led have been most successful when the people I involved were smarter (not difficult!) and knew more about the subject than I did. My role was to remove the obstacles that they could not remove, provide them with a sounding board to help steer direction, and to ensure the right people were recognised and valued for their contribution.

Indeed, it is precisely by adopting such an approach that you achieve, as far as you can, peace of mind; then you can focus on the real issue: making sure you are doing the right thing as opposed to making sure you are doing it right.