Monday, June 22, 2015

Can you disagree with me as your leader?

As a leader of others I always want to know that those who join my senior team or cabinet are able and willing to disagree with me. Too many leaders define loyalty as agreeing with their position and therefore surround themselves with "yes" people. In my mind this is not loyalty - but disloyalty to the good of the organization. Thus I will not put someone on my senior team who does not have the courage and willingness to disagree with me as their senior leader.

It surprises many people to find out that I do not make unilateral decisions for ReachGlobal. Rather, we say we are team led and team driven and all issues that impact staff go through the ReachGlobal cabinet or the Directional team. People ask, "Do you always get your way?" I say "no." They ask, "Do you care?" I say "no." Then they ask "Why." My answer is that I believe the very best decisions are made when you have the right people in the room and are able to think through the decisions together. It is in the multiplicity of gifts that the best decisions are made.

I find that many senior leaders are threatened when people disagree with them and I find that sad. It is a reflection of their own insecurities and need to prove something rather than truly wanting the very best for the organization. One of our values is that we engage in Robust Dialogue, where "Any issue can be put on the table for discussion with the exception of personal attacks or hidden agendas." It makes for a culture of freedom where together we can work toward what is best for the organization.

This is all done in a collegial atmosphere where are differences are not personal and do not become personal. Rather we have learned how to stay in relationship while differing in our perspectives, to have candid dialogue and then to support the decision with one voice once it is made. The fact that I submit to this process as a leader also means that when I do feel strongly on an issue, it is taken seriously by the team. Leaders actually gain influence when they bring others into the decision making process. I know that when the decision is made that all support it and key people have had the chance to speak into it.

So the actual question is: Can you disagree with me as your leader and stay in relationship with me?

Posted from Oakdale, MN

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