Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Great Leaders Encourage Disagreement

Today’s post is from our friend and Tribe Member Greg Chambers. You can find him here.

Did you ever come out of an all-day meeting and look at your peer and say “Why did we waste all day here?” Why didn’t the Director just tell us what they wanted us to do?” It’s so frustrating, and so obvious when it happens. The worst part is that it is abundantly clear to most everyone in the room what is happening. The director or manager has an agenda, and they want to make everyone feel like they had a part in creating the policy, process, or resulting action. So they pull everyone in a meeting, and steer the conversation and decisions into the direction they want them to go. Heaven forbid if anyone stands up and points out that the Emperor has no clothes!
Peter Drucker says in his book The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done (Harperbusiness Essentials)that if you have not had a discussion with descending opinions voiced, no decision has been made at all. I believe he is right. In that case, you are only executing the philosophy [whims] and strategy of the Manager.

Great leaders encourage good, respectful feedback, even when it hurts. They also know they will have to defend their point of view. When this occurs, several things can happen. Option one is that the manager is able to defend their position, and everyone else on the team comes around, because the strategy is right. Option two, and a better one, is when the team pokes a few holes in the concept, and it gets better through collaboration. Option three is the best, when the manager comes to the meeting with an idea, not an agenda, and through collaboration and open discussion the concept comes to life.

Leaders that want 'yes' people working for them are not leaders, they are managers. And in my opinion, not very good managers. Great leaders love an open environment where others will feel free to voice their own opinions. They know this is the only way to build a strong team. That it will build strong processes and policies that will result in success, and stand the test of time.