Anyone See This Differently?

Written by on June 2, 2014

I love a good debate.  I actually get nervous when everyone agrees with what the “boss” is saying without pushing back.  My experience has been that some people don’t understand the value diverse opinions can bring to the situation. They see the push back as antagonistic, disrespectful, and/or slowing the group down.  Perhaps it can slow things down but having a diverse group of people providing input is the best way to assure you have looked at all sides of the situation.

Have you have ever thought, I’ll promote him because he is “easier to manage” or “they won’t create waves”?  If so,  you might be missing a great growth opportunity……for you and the company.  People with differing opinions represent the only way to expand your current views as a leader.  Think about it.  We never change our mind without taking in new information.  You need people that are not “yes” people to provide all angles. Having all of the same personalities at the table or surrounding yourself with “yes people”, creates tremendous risk and will insure that something will be missed.

Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Have you surrounded yourself with “yes” people?
  • Do you have anyone pushing back on your ideas?
  • Is there someone you don’t always see eye to eye with that is afraid to contribute?
  • Have people quit raising their hand?
  • Are they quiet on calls?
  • Who have you shut down because you couldn’t manage their feedback?
  • Do you take the push back personally?

You might have the final say, but thinking you know everything can compromise the success of any leader.  Great leaders have the ability to hold their own opinion and integrate the feedback into the overall goals of the company, without taking it personally.

So, the next time someone pushes back, thank them for their feedback and willingness to challenge the situation.  Comment on how important it is that they continue to challenge what is being said and invite others to do the same.  This will lead to a more open exchange of ideas and ultimately a better outcome.

  1. Rosemary   On   June 2, 2014 at 7:08 am

    It’s the person that just likes to hear themselves talk that can cause the team to withdraw when asking for feedback. Feedback is critical to the success of any team and tempering the outspoken ones is as important as encouraging the introverted ones to speak up!!

  2. Sandy Stevenson   On   June 2, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Love this… so many personalize a different point of view or suggestion. I agree with you (uh oh I am a “yes” man ) My analogy to this is like a recipe.. it might be good if you follow it, but if you play with the ingredients a bit it might become AMAZING~. Thanks for making me think!

  3. Lori   On   June 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Actually I have thought a lot about this subject of how unfortunate it is when good people and good ideas are shut down, never heard, lost or brushed off by leaders who are not open enough to accept diverse opinions or secure enough to receive any push back and prefer to surround themselves with “Yes” people because it’s just easier and keeps their ego in tact. Not only do they miss out on maybe a great idea and potential opportunity, but how do they or anyone on their team ever grow? And, therefore, the question is: “Who’s leading?” The leader or the current circumstances? With this type of scenario a lot is lost…trust, confidence, respect. The potential of the team rest only with the leader and the leader and everyone on the team at some point has to ask, “Can one trust someone who’s not willing to listen to your opinion?” “Does one feel confident when they have an idea to help but is afraid to say anything because they remember the last time they spoke up?” “Where is the respect level of the team if no one really knows the potential of the team and what each individual brings to the table?”

    • Tracy Spears   On   June 3, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      Well said! The question of who is leading is….no one. It would be hard to grow and evolve under these circumstances.

  4. Chris Sinclair   On   June 3, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    This blog posting is written as if only the boss needs to be addressed. From that point it is very much on target, even though the reality is a boss who doesn’t want to listen to others’ thoughts will shut them down. The more difficult issue is how does the employee best deal with a situation where the boss doesn’t want to hear their thoughts?

    • Tracy Spears   On   June 3, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      Yes, the blog is written for the “boss” to consider. Unfortunately, the people that need the advice often aren’t the ones reading about how to improve their leadership. Having a cup of coffee and discussing the article you read might be a good ice breaker. (Or you could sign them up to receive the blogs automatically…just sayin’)

  5. Taylor Pero   On   June 3, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Your most interesting Post brought to mind two separate situations I have encountered in my career which I would like your opinion on and might be of help to your followers. I had the pleasure of working for ten years with Academy Award Nominee, actress Lana Turner. Part of my job was to be her “Devil’s Advocate” on matters pertaining to her very busy professional life. While making up her mind about any proposed project she might become involved with, she would sit in front of me in my office and put forth questions regarding varying aspects of the project and what the ramifications or consequences might be to any scenario she could imagine. It was truly mind boggling and educational to me to come up with opposing or thought provoking responses which would cause her to re-consider her decisions. I think everyone executive should have a “Devil’s Advocate” to bounce ideas off of, but it has to be someone they trust and respect.

    I currently live in the Midwest, Kansas City area and have been dumbfounded by the numbers of business people who are reluctant to raise their hands or speak their minds at a conference table. As an entertainment consultant I have taken part in many group discussions where everyone apparently relied on “someone else” to come up with ideas and provide momentum to the group. In one such situation I was made the brunt of a humiliating remark when the top executive walked into the room and pointedly said, “Well, I hear the consultant is running the discussion.” Wh

    • Tracy Spears   On   June 3, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      It sounds like you have had a few very interesting opportunities! My first thought after reading this was that I hoped you said, “I am and we would love for you to join in” when the top executive walked in!

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