Leaders Giving Way: Part II

Just as I’m thinking about leaders who “give and take” I read two news items back-to-back which illustrate different styles of leadership response to being challenged. In the first, President Trump’s Press Secretary announces that those federal employees (diplomats) who disagree with their boss’s immigration policies should “either get with the program or they can go”. In the second article, a gathering of First Nation chiefs listen to an impassioned speech from a young advocate in their community – and then they change their meeting agenda to discuss the issue she has presented.

I share this not to discuss politics or country or cultural differences. At its base, I see that this is about the willingness to listen and be influenced by those we lead. It’s about a philosophy of use of power and the implicit agreement between followers and leaders. It’s about leaders who can yield and share leadership with others.

Leaders in business – for-profit and cause-driven both – need to consider what is most effective. What do your followers expect when it comes to their right to disagree and your willingness to listen? Companies trying to be innovative know that direct and candid sharing of ideas is a must. Generational researchers say Millennials especially expect to be consulted at work. Daniel Pink tells us that key workplace motivators are autonomy and mastery.

Is your inability to give way being perceived as stubbornness? When was the last time you listened, and then changed your agenda? Still time to try that move out at your team meeting this week.

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