Lead with honesty

dishonesty This is a follow on post from 5 steps to build support for metrics. In that post I talk about bringing your plan for change to your team before it is a fully formed idea, so you can get their input. Here is why this matters…

I few years ago I was involved in a strategic planning session for top management.  We were going to be flown to a far off destination to enjoy sun, a little golf, and do some Blue Ocean thinking.  Well that is what most folks thought.

As is pretty common on these trips, we were going to break into teams of about 8 people and brainstorm to come up with revolutionary new things the company should be doing to make a major leap forward. When I was told what team I was on, I was also informed of the outcome our team should come up with. Each team had an influencer who was supposed to steer the outcome to what the CEO wanted.

Nope. Not gonna do it. Not that the idea was bad, it was actually was a great idea, but I was not going to participate in the collusion.

I asked why not just tell the leadership team about the new direction?  The answer was that he wanted people to feel invested in the decision, because their ownership would help it succeed.

Yuck. Not only is it manipulative, it assumes the people working for you are too stupid to not see it for what it is.

To build a team that gets behind good ideas, be honest, get them involved early, listen to feedback, but demand progress and don’t forget that ultimately the performance of your team is your responsibility.

Your team will respect you for asking their input, and they will also respect you for making a decision and clearly communicating your expectations. Anything else will be met with resistance, distrust, and may cause them to loose respect for you as a leader.

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