LEADERS ARE OPEN TO BEING WRONG 2023-01-31T02:25:23-05:00


I just returned from a trip to Austin over this weekend, so this one will be short and sweet. Thankfully, we left Austin right before it was hit with an ice storm. It was in the 20’s in Texas and when we returned, it was in the 50’s in Maryland. Go figure!

Over the weekend, I was talking to a close friend about the environment at his company. My friend was commenting that a particular leader has been having issues with a number of his direct reports. In my friend’s opinion, this manager is a “dud” in the leadership department.

I asked two innocent questions:
-Don’t annual reviews and other assessments point out this leader’s flaws or areas of weaknesses?
-Can’t HR put this leader on a performance improvement plan?

My friend smiled ruefully and said that team members have tried to point out this leader’s areas of challenge.

Unfortunately, at this company the HR Department always gives the benefit of the doubt to the manager or leader. Whenever there is a conflict between a manager and his or her direct report, HR favors the former over the latter.

Please do not develop this kind of culture at your organization:
-It kills morale
-It sends good talent away
-It de-incentivizes employees
-It tears down trust between management and others
-It leads to negative gossip, a cancer in the workplace

When we are leaders, we ought to be more – not less – open to being wrong. We can invite differences of opinion because we know diversity of ideas produces better solutions. Our ego does not get caught up in being right. We realize that the people who report to us are not “our staff.” Rather, they are part of our team, a team always striving for the best result, not the result that mirrors our own ideas.

Please do not assume that you are right or your ideas are the best because you are the leader. On the contrary, when we ascend to leadership positions, we are able to consider varying perspectives and approaches.

When we have issues with people who report to us, it is important that we remain humble and open-minded. And if issues ever rise to the level of the HR Department, I hope we can retain our humility and objectivity.

Whenever HR Departments assume that the manager or leader is right in his or her interpretation of issues or events, they are tipping the scales against team members. That is a dangerous road to traverse.