When you make the effort to listen to your subordinates and to ask for their input, you tell them they are important. They care about the team and they want it to be successful, but they won't volunteer information unless you appear receptive. No matter what their rank or position, people are smart. If you dismiss their suggestions or routinely debate their positions, they know that you are only going through the motions of asking for their ideas. You already have your mind made up, and you really don't care what they think. While you may not follow every suggestion that is offered, you should at least listen objectively to your subordinates. Hear them out and don't debate the value of what they are saying.
Maj. Santiago asked Mr. Markey, one of his senior action officers, for his recommendations on how to solve a budget issue. The answer Mr. Markey provided was not workable in Maj. Santiago's opinion. However, instead of disagreeing with him, Maj. Santiago said "I value your judgment and experience. I'll have to consider what you have suggested along with the other input I receive before make a final decision on this." Although Maj. Santiago ultimately decided on a different
course of action, Mr. Markey supported it, because he felt that he had been included in the decision making process. His ideas had been seriously considered.
How you respond to ideas that you don't agree with has a lot to do not only with how your team members react to your decisions, but also how they perceive you as a leader. When they tell you something you'd rather not hear, don't shoot the messenger. If your subordinates aren't talking to you, it doesn't mean that everything is going fine. More often it means that they know you won't listen to them, so why should they waste their time talking with you. It also means that your team is not achieving its best.