I just finished reading The unbearable stubbornness of sommeliers by Jancis Robinson and what she reports is a little flabbergasting.
My personal approach to suggesting wines in my restaurant times was to find out in simple terms what colour, body (how strong) and type of grape the people would like.
Also important to know was the price range they were looking at and what type of food they would have.
I would never push a wine just for the sake of moving inventory.
I always had to believe in what I was recommending, I still do.
I was careful to mention that I had my preferences but they were only mine.
I have to admit that I have strong opinions on many things, a French trait maybe.
Nevertheless, when in doubt, I believe in the wisdom of asking others for their opinions.
The feedback is not always pleasant when you receive it but can often be fruitful.
Making silly decisions just to prove that you are in charge is not a sign of strength but rather of deafness, blindness or worse stupidity.
Pam Johnson offered (back in 2004) some fine advice on Leading by Listening that is still relevant .
Add a sprinkle of self-deprecating humor.
Also on work and open ears: Stars do not work for Idiots (Mavericks at Work)