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Leadership Thought #282 – It’s Not Enough To Be Right

I’ve seen many talented leaders and managers get in their own way when it comes to getting their point across.  They almost seem oblivious or worse indifferent to the vibe in the room and how their message is being received.  You can be right, but alienate other people if you are not careful.  How you communicate can often be as important as what you communicate.  Going all the way back to our grade schools days, nobody likes a “know it all.”   Arrogance is a very unattractive personality trait.  We all pay close attention to how those in positions of authority treat other people. 

You are never successful in spite of other people only ever because of them.   Purposefully making someone else look bad or stupid is not a good way to build a fan base.  Not letting other people have their say or voice a different opinion ends up making them feel frustrated and resentful.  Your colleagues want you to share the spotlight not block them out.  If you are the boss and your ideas are always the best ones, then you either have a weak team or you are stifling independent thinking and creativity. 

Leaders need to appreciate that they are always on stage.   Employees are watching your every move and behavior and regularly making judgments about your capacity to lead.  You are either cultivating a solid fan base or building a roster of critics.  Once people have made up their mind about your character, it is hard to get them to change their minds even when you are right.  You never become bigger by making someone else feel small.  There are proper ways to disagree and challenge others. This doesn’t mean that everyone has to like you, but they must respect you and feel you respect them as well.

It’s not enough to be right!  All decisions require follow-up action and unless you plan on doing everything yourself, you need help with execution.  You can certainly use your power and authority to force action in the short term, but long term you will never get the buy-in you need to be truly successful.  In addition, no one person has the market cornered on good ideas or has the intellectual capacity and experience to best navigate every situation. 


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