Do You Surround Yourself With No?

20130408-172104.jpgFar too often I come across stories or direct examples of a leader who has surrounded herself with the same general characteristics and behaviours of the leader herself.

And not in a ‘geez, this beer tastes great’ way.

The trait I see that causes the most damage or stagnates a team and indirect teams into an endless pit of debate is the ‘no’ trait.

  • No, that will never work.
  • No, I don’t think we should pursue that.
  • No, it’s not something we would ever do.
  • These are lines a leader might say, but leaders are equally influenced by the team she is surrounded by and it’s highly likely she might be fed the ‘no’ ingredient well in advance.

    It’s the ‘no’ seed planting approach. Some may call it sabotage.

    A member of the team — who reports directly into the leader — is fully aware the leader is more apt to listen to the reasons why something shouldn’t be done (ie. the ‘no’) and therefore begins a proactive campaign of ‘no’ to help solidify the decision that the project should not move forward. Stakeholders from outside the team are blindsided, hurt and confused. Those external members trying to partner on the project thought things were going smoothly until the ‘no’ seed planting took shape and the leader (inevitably you might say) decried the opportunity was wrong. “No, we won’t proceed.”

    20130408-172245.jpgIt’s a knot of no’s.

    If a leader is aware of her own personal tendency to say ‘no’ more often than ‘yes’ or heaven forbid ‘maybe’, might she think about hiring a team (or at least a few) who can think in the spectrum of ‘yes’?

    I know, I know …

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    2 comments on “Do You Surround Yourself With No?”

    1. Hi Dan,

      So true. Just as toxic as that other corporate maxim “because we’ve always done it this way.”

    Hey! I'd love to read what you think. Surely you have an opinion. Love, Dan.