Idea Meritocracy … A New Leadership Style

Idea Meritocracy is all about the belief that the best ideas win out. Following this line of thought, one should rigorously investigate her/his own ideas and be open and tolerant to other people’s ideas and viewpoints with the aim of bringing out the best ideas in people. Without tru idea-meritocracy ideas would be locked inside people’s heads or desktops.

Embracing this mindset would, therefore, require someone who is willing to overcome her/his ego and become open to radical truthfulness, candid feedback, and is welcoming to know and to understand others’ perceptions of her/his strengths and weaknesses.

Under the umbrella of Leadership, a leader who advocates this thinking and leading style would encourage constructive critique; which would comprise that employees at all levels challenge her/his ideas and strategies, thus, stimulating radical transparency.

As Ray Dalio, who coined the term ‘idea meritocracy’, states “If (employees) can de-addict themselves to their egos and their blind-spot barriers and make it to the other side, it’s great”.

How to become an idea-meritocratic leader?

To effectively implement Idea Meritocracy, “people need to do three things:

  1. Put their honest thoughts on the table for everyone to see.
  2. Have thoughtful disagreements in which there are reasonable back-and-forths in which people evolve their thinking to come up with better decisions than they could come up with individually.
  3. If disagreements remain, have agreed upon protocols that get people past them in idea-meritocratic ways.

Idea Meritocracy can have an impressive impact on the team spirit as everyone’s voice is heard and where people can have a real impact on the decision making process within their organizations.

It is not easy to establish a true idea meritocracy as it needs the leader to be extremely open-minded about criticism and to establish solid multi-way communication channels within the organization.

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