Apparently this is a parenting term, which is funny since I’m a parent of four kids who first heard it on a management podcast:
The procedure of planned ignoring involves deliberate parental inattention to the occurrence of target child behaviors. In other words, parents identify behaviors that function as a means of getting their attention and selectively ignore themStephanie Jean
Flip it around for managers. Ignoring a team as they work through a problem means that they are forced to own it. When they can’t lean on the manager, self-ownership must follow. So the “target behaviors” we’re fostering by ignoring are leadership skills.
This is one reason why I think Shape Up is so interesting. You give a team of two or three people a big goal, and set them free to see what they can come up with in six weeks. You plan to ignore them during that time.
“Servant leadership” works too, but I like the bluntness of “planned ignoring”. There’s some magic in “I’m planning to ignore you while you do this, but yell if you need anything.”