If you are like me, it always feels good to hear affirmation as a leader. If I am honest, there are times when I wish everyone would agree with my vision, philosophies, and my day-to-day decisions. But, sadly, as a leader that is not the real world…
Every leader should expect push-back, criticism, and opposition at different times. However, over time, there is a concerning tendency to silence those voices and replace them with people who are quick to agree with everything we say or do.
While it makes for an easier life by surrounding ourselves with “yes” people, it actually stunts our personal growth as well as that of our organization. Rather, we should surround ourselves with leaders and thinkers who have permission to think in alternative ways and speak up when plans appear to have flaws.
Surrounding ourselves with leaders and thinkers who can speak their mind is essential because…
We refine our message. A plan might seem crystal clear to you and I, but it might not be the case for our followers. Giving a voice to our team in the early stages of a plan will help us ensure that possible misunderstandings are removed by the time the plan goes live for everyone else.
We avoid pitfalls. It’s impossible to think through every pitfall in a plan. Recently, as I was creating a training event for our volunteers, I sat down with my team to look at how the event would go. It was only in those early discussions that we saw one major pitfall together. I would never have seen it by myself!
We lead stronger. There are times when we will receive feedback and opinions that is potentially painful and hurtful. While there will be certain people who complain and moan constantly, it’s essential to realize that certain feedback in areas of our own deficiency is needed to grow and change.
When we give permission to a trusted few to speak truth into our lives, it is then we can see areas of our leadership that needs repair and improvement.
We attract (and keep) leaders. Who wants to be a part of team that is dictated by one strong voice that is unwilling to hear from anyone else? Other leaders want to be heard and be part of the creation of something that will make a lasting impact. When we give them a voice and value their thoughts and ideas, it gives them greater ownership and purpose. When potential leaders are looking to join our organization, they must sense that collaboration and dialogue are part of the DNA. They need to know they will be given a voice and given the opportunity to express their thoughts and opinions without being shot down.
What kind of people do you surround yourself with? How can thinkers and leaders help you refine your message and create a better plan? How can a culture of transparency in your organization help you grow as a leader even when it’s painful? Who are the people in your life who need a greater voice?