The biggest problem with positional power is that most subordinates won’t say no. All of your ideas are good ones, all of the things you say, they agree. Once you realize the problems, you tell everyone your ideas to fix it, and they tell you, your plan was what they were thinking. They will always be the “idea factory”.
So, what does no mean to a leader? Weak leaders see it as a challenge or as disrespect. They often have no vision and don’t think through their ideas. If there is a “don’t question the leader” feeling or culture in your organization, you know you are dealing with someone that has poor leadership skills or has been promoted beyond their capabilities. These leaders will rely on micromanagement to get their way or to cover up their failures. Tread carefully with these leaders, so you don’t become a victim of their insecurities. It is possible to say no, but it must be done carefully and a significant amount of time needs to be invested into building trust and a relationship before you will be able to disagree effectively. In general, this is a good idea anyway, but a good leader will be ready to accept disagreement without feeling threatened even before a relationship is built.
I’ve heard so many examples when these “leaders” will complain that they can’t get their people to work hard or have high-quality work. The big problem is they do not allow anyone to dissent. This creates a divide between them and their people. It keeps them from being a team. The people are aligned against the leader instead of them working together as a team. They cannot work on problems and make real change because the leader can’t see beyond their control. They use words like compliance and fail to see how compliance can be a negative quality in a workforce. Compliance is passive and disengaged.
We need to get better at picking quality leaders. A quality and confident leader will see disagreement as an opportunity to either test their idea or strengthen it with reasonable debate. A quality leader will know all ideas have flaws and it is better to figure out what they are before any action has taken place instead of learning of these problems during the process and having to come up with solutions on the fly.
We need no! You all have a responsibility to dissent! We need to be respectful, and we have to be careful to keep from turning into the person that is always doubting everything. The reality is, if everyone knows what you are going to say, they no longer need to listen to you.