There’s no shortage of conventional wisdom about what leaders should do. Here’s some unconventional wisdom:
1) Encourage People to Disagree
Every team is subject to “groupthink” – the tendency to discourage divergent thinking and to make decisions that are mutually reinforcing. Why? Everyone wants to be seen as a “team player”, as supportive.
Yet secure leaders don’t want to be surrounded by “yes-men” and “yes-women”. They want to be challenged by people who can think.
Attacking ideas can make them stronger. Present an idea and then encourage your team to poke holes in it. What am I missing? How could this fail? In what situations wouldn’t this apply? Position your idea simply as a draft. Better to identify flaws sooner than later.
2) Don’t Focus on Employee Retention
Top performers will leave your organization and for good reasons – family, health, personal ambition. Those are beyond your control. Sure, you want to retain top performers. But that’s not where your focus should be.
Focus on selecting, engaging and developing the right talent – the process of talent management. Not only will you build a motivated and high-performing workforce, but the people who do leave will become your promoters (which is when your Alumni Program should kick in … but that’s a topic for another blog).
3) Don’t Try to Get Everyone On-Board
I’ve heard the question asked time and time again when companies implement strategic change initiatives. How do we get the naysayers on-board?
Don’t focus on the naysayers! When you devote your energy to them you neglect the passionate proponents who need your support. Focus on supporting those proponents. Celebrate and promote their successes. That will create the pull for those who were on the fence. And the naysayers? Now they need to get with the program. Or be encouraged to explore their career options.