The Favor Flaw, part I

Let’s face it, we as leaders have many flaws.  We’re not perfect.  For this reason, we need to continually be in the process of self-examination.  

One of our flaws is that many if not most leaders tend to give favor to those we like the most, who agree with everything we do, who kowtow to us, who don’t question us, who tell us what we want to hear, and basically, those who suck up to us.  

We can’t help ourselves. It’s addicting.   Why would we do anything other than show favor to someone who goes along with us, supports us, and are easy to work with?  

But there is a fatal flaw in this.  Two things happen when we go this route. First, we don’t’ get challenged.  Second, we pass up talent.   

There is a reason the Bible says, “iron sharpens iron” when it comes to relationships.  It suggests there is value in friction. We need opposing opinions and viewpoints. We need to be challenged.  

When your leadership team is made up of a bunch of “yes-men” (this term is gender-neutral btw) all you get is more of yourself.  Before we go any further, let me say I’ve never heard a leader say, “yea, I’ve got a bunch of yes-men on my team.”  No one, and I mean, no one, would ever admit to that.  Which means we have a whole lot of denial going on. 

I’ve seen leadership teams packed with friends and family—people the leader can trust.  I’m not saying these friends are not talented or even leaders, I’m saying you miss something of high value when most of your leadership team is composed of friends or even family. Unfortunately, that limits experience, input, ideas, and even truth.  

 There is a difference between a disagreement with a friend and the passionate advocation of an opposite viewpoint of someone outside of our circle of friends who has a different experience and background knowledge. 

What I’m about to tell you is NOT easy.  It is hard, it is challenging, it is trying, and it is complicated.  It takes courage, strength, and humility to approach the solution to this problem.

The solution is to have people on our team who disagree with us.  Pick people on purpose who have contrary views and experiences. Choose people who have the courage to speak up, and you must give them that right, despite how it makes you feel.  You as a leader must have the courage to have people on your team who have the courage to disagree with you, not mildly disagree, but passionately disagree. 

Tomorrow we turn to how we pass up talent because of the favor flaw.


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