Just say “no” to “yes”

That’s right, just say “no” to “yes…” “Yes men,” that is. And don’t give me any grief about my use of gender. “Yes men” come in all shapes, sizes, genders, and flavors. And are frequently disguised – quite well – as competent managers.

They aren’t.

During my first VP-level job (seems like a while ago…), I worked with a chief executive who made it quite clear to me: “If you and I always agree, then one of us is unnecessary, and I’m keeping my job!”

As it should be. As leaders, we need divergent thinkers around us to test and validate our ideas, plans, reasoning… our own thinking. What we don’t need is a gaggle of grown-up wannabe’s chiming “great idea, boss” like a parrot in a cage hoping to get a sunflower seed.

They give us momentary gratification (let’s face it, we do like it when we’re right), but longer term disaster.

Force your staff to think, to challenge you (wisely and professionally, of course) as you should be doing with them. Refuse to accept instant agreement without solid reasoning; ask for an explanation on “why” someone thinks you are right.

Then, sit back and listen…


Kevin Berchelmann

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