Your boss is good at her job. She’s good at dealing with problems as they arise, she listens to employees, and she has a lot of ideas; so many ideas, in fact, that when you walk out of a meeting with her, you feel more confused than before you went in. Your boss has an overflow of ideas—some might even call it Shiny Object Syndrome—and it makes your job confusing. It’s possible that her High-Idea Productivity is getting in the way of your work productivity.
What Is High-Idea Productivity?
Idea Productivity is an ability revealed by the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) that shows how quickly and easily you come up with ideas. If you score high in this area, you likely have a steady stream of ideas, good and bad, related and unrelated, and the people around you can have a hard time sorting through it all. If you score low, you might not have such an easy flow of ideas, but you do know a good one when you see it, and you find it easy to stay focused on a project until it is completed.
What Idea Productivity Looks Like in a Business Leader
Bosses with High-Idea Productivity are an important part of the team. Their ability to come up with ideas allows them to adapt quickly to new information. They are good at thinking of different approaches to reach people. Brainstorming sessions with them can be motivating and exciting, and you can feel confident that they won’t steal your ideas (because they have plenty of their own). In fact, even if your idea is great, they may continue to generate additional ideas leaving you with the feeling that your idea is being overlooked.
Unfortunately, High-Idea Productivity bosses can also be confusing. As new ideas occur to them, they will often share them without thinking them through or expecting them to be acted upon. Each new idea will burst forth as if it were the key to the problem. The result is that you and your team may shift your time and energy aimlessly from one project to another, feel frustrated by the inability to complete anything, and become confused about goals and priorities.
A leader with High-Idea Productivity doesn’t know if and when new ideas are welcome. Unlike people who are low on the Idea Productivity scale whose gift is focus, they may have a hard time knowing which ideas are actionable and which ideas need to be scrapped until they follow a process for evaluating and prioritizing.
How to Handle a Boss with Too Many Ideas
Your boss isn’t trying to confuse you. He might not even realize that he’s causing confusion with his Shiny Object Syndrome. It’s important that you communicate your difficulties with him. See if you can find a way to work together to sift through his ideas to find the ones that give you a solid direction. Or, see if you can negotiate “check in” or completion deadlines, which will provide you the opportunity to focus on one at a time over the course of several days.
If after a conversation your boss emphasizes the importance of moving all projects forward a little bit each day (rather than focusing on a single project through completion), then you’ll have to adjust. At least you will both be clear on the importance of either approach. Of course, this is easier to do
If after a conversation your boss emphasizes the importance of moving all projects forward a little bit each day (rather than focusing on a single project through completion), then you’ll have to adjust. At least you will both be clear on the importance of either approach. Of course, this is easier to do when your entire team takes the HAB.
The HAB will reveal communication, learning, and other practices essential to workplace success, and it will help you reach a greater understanding of your boss so that you can all be more productive.