Bad leaders care about who’s right, good leaders care about what’s right!
I saw this statement on LinkedIn the other day and it jumped out at me. This is a very broad statement but one that is really reflects a lot of my thinking. It encompasses a variety of meanings, a few of which we will discuss. These meanings have important implications for your teams, you as a leader, and your company.
Meaning #1 – It doesn’t all have to be your ideas. Crowdsource them
I’ve worked with people who thought they were the smartest person in the room (they weren’t). I have worked with people who would not allow us to do things unless it was his idea (contrary to what they would tell us). The type of person who has to make all the decisions and has to come up with all the ideas is someone who loves a title, and loves control. These people have no business in any kind of leadership role. This impacts your organization greatly. First, it attracts people who are innovative and creative and smart. Those types of people do not appreciate working in an organization where they will not be heard or their ideas will be dismissed.
Creative talent is attracted by freedom, good leadership, and autonomy. It also means that diversity of thought will be carried throughout the organization. In that, organizations don’t get stuck in one line of thinking.
Meaning #2 – Good leaders are more concerned about doing what is right than being right
This was how I initially understood the meaning of this saying. This is an ethical issue. The question is this: Do we do the right thing, even if it costs us, or do we do would help the organization do xxx? I’ve been a part of situations where the people leading the organization or team wanted something done that was either illegal or unethical. I fought them. That’s what good leaders do. They understand that you can’t sell something that you know won’t work. You can’t do something that would get your clients in legal trouble. You can’t do someone like this because it hurts your organization’s reputation, causes trust issues, and can impact future sales. Or it could drag your organization into court. So good leaders will do the RIGHT thing, the ethical thing. And it could have a cost associated with it. It may cost money to go back and fix something. It may cost money to utilize other resources. It could impact what you sell or how much you sell.
Doing the right thing isn’t easy. It will come at a cost sometimes. But it’s the best thing you can do as a leader and the best thing to do for your organization.
How would you understand that statement?