The joy of being wrong

By George Bradt via huffingtonpost.com   Article

The Joy of Being Wrong When a Subordinate Disagrees With You

“My favorite leadership moments have come when people that worked for me disagreed with me, chose their way and proved me wrong. These happened when we had the right people in the right roles with clear direction and guardrails and different perspectives who learned through practice.

‘Remember how we disagreed on this and we chose to do it your way? Turns out you were right. Good for you. Do it again.’

Right People in Right Roles

Not everyone has the two-way confidence to disagree with his or her boss successfully. The people that do have the talent, knowledge and skills required to their jobs well and have built a trusting relationship with their bosses. They have confidence in themselves, in their relationship with their bosses; and their bosses have confidence in them.

This is a prerequisite for disagreeing. If your people can’t get to this point relatively quickly, you probably don’t have the right people in the right roles. The number one regret experienced leaders have looking back on their careers is not moving fast enough on their people. If you don’t have the right people in the right roles, shame on you.

[Note to people thinking about disagreeing with your boss. You should check by asking your boss how he or she likes to be disagreed with. There tend to be five modes:

  1. Don’t disagree with me. I’m the boss. Therefore I’m right.
  2. Disagree with me one-on-one in private.
  3. Disagree with me in small groups (and never let anyone outside the family know we disagree)
  4. Disagree with me in public – but politely.
  5. Disagree with me in public, gloves off, brutal honesty to set an example.

Ask your boss which level he or she prefers. Then don’t believe them. Most people over-estimated their appetite for disagreement by at least one click. So ask and then watch to see what happens to others that disagree first.] …

Different Perspectives

It’s often said that if everyone in a meeting agrees, the meeting is probably a waste of time. New ideas are born out of creative tension. You want the people around you to bring their different perspectives to the game. It’s not that they are necessarily smarter or less smart than you. It’s that they see things differently.”

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