“How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?” …And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?”
(King Ahab, before he rejected the counsel of Micaiah and was defeated and killed at Ramoth-gilead by the king of Syria.
[1 Kings 22:16-18, ESV])
[1 Kings 22:16-18, ESV])
Lynch responded, “I think I have to be willing to tell not just my friends but colleagues 'no' if the law requires it. That would include the president of the United States." When asked how she would be different than her predecessor, she said, "I will be myself. Loretta Lynch."
Are you looking for a man or a “yes man”?
Great leaders do not just take yes for an answer. Some disagreement and low-level conflict can lead to better consensus decisions. The best leaders encourage dialogue and welcome challenges to their decisions when there might truly be a better idea. Then, once the decision is made, they can reasonably expect their followers to follow through with commitment.
While attending the annual convention meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1987, I was introduced to a liaison from the Catholic Church. Our mutual friend had recently been named to a position of leadership for what was then the FMB. As he tried to equate that position to his own organization’s structure, he commented that a bishop once told him, “Once you become a bishop, it marks the last time two things will ever happen. It’s the last time you will ever be served a bad meal and it’s the last time anyone will ever tell you the truth.”
Sadly, the farther up the chain of leadership one moves, the more difficult it becomes for subordinates to feel free to share bad news or facts that contradict the leader’s stated position. Often, leaders say they want to know what is really going on out there in the trenches or on the frontline, but they express their preconceived conclusions in such a way that others receive the message, “Don’t confuse me with the facts.”
I have a button on my desk with that inscription. It hangs in front of a yellow Tweety Bird pen holder, a gift from my sons years ago. Together, the button and Tweety remind me of at least five things outlined in the hints below.
Hints to the Leader and to the Follower:
1) Remember to Stop, Look and LISTEN to others first, before expressing your own opinions (better yet, before FORMING my own opinions).
2) Don’t draw conclusions too quickly.
3) Don’t think too highly of your own opinions.
4) Stay open to the possibility of altering, changing or perhaps even ditching what you thought was a “final” conclusion.
5) Don’t take yourself too seriously.
(For more hints, see also the earlier article “Leaders Need Three I’s” (http://mylead360.blogspot.com/2010/01/leaders-need-three-is.html).
© Dr. Larry N. Gay, January 2015