Be careful what you wish for – and what you hope others will do.
Have you ever cheered on a friend or colleague by telling them “Go knock ’em dead!” It seems harmless enough, but what happens if some people take you seriously?
“Knock ’em dead leadership” is an approach where managers work hard to establish that they are the boss! Thus, they create cultures where people learn to lay low, hide information, and keep innovative ideas to themselves. (Such managers can knock an entire organization dead.)
We just met Irv, the new leader of a division within a major corporation. As a new leader, you would think that Irv would be interested in impressing people with his wisdom and experience – which he has plenty of. But Irv isn’t your typical leader. Instead of “knocking his team dead,” Irv is knocking people alive.
He is achieving this by removing the “because I told you so” management methodology from the organization. “What’s important is that we have everyone contributing fully so that we can get the work done – and do it well,” Irv said as he launched his organization’s Wellness Culture initiative. “I don’t care about positions or who’s who or how long you’ve been doing what. If you’ve got information, share it. If you’ve got ideas, bring them on. And let’s get the job done.”
…the fear of being wrong does not motivate people to be right;
it motivates people to avoid being judged.
Imagine a fearless workplace, where people are free to share and contribute without worry or concern about judgment or retribution. Irv reminds us all that the fear of being wrong does not motivate people to be right; it motivates people to avoid being judged. So if people aren’t stepping up and offering innovative ideas it’s not because of the risk of making a mistake – it’s the risk of how others will respond to the mistake.
And the “response” to any and all situations is always within your control.
Today, where will you release yourself from an old paradigm of leadership, and thus “knock your team alive” so they can step up and perform?
- What is the most important message we should gain from this blog?
- Regarding the issue this blog addresses, what evidence do we have that we are effective or moving forward in this area?
- What actions do we presently take that allow us to be as effective as we are in this area?
- What would it look like to “take the next step” in this area?
- What qualities or dynamics do we want to further develop in our team?
- Why is it important that we move forward in this area?
- What benefits will it create for each of us? For the team? Our families? And the organization?
- What plan can we create to ensure we make progress here? And how will we ensure accountability?