Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Here's a great post by Tom Shefchunas that challenged me as a leader.

I was once told that a definition of leadership was "letting people down at a rate that they can stand."
In some ways I get that. I think there is a bit more to it but… for sure… one of my jobs as a leader is saying “no.” I say it all the time.

Here’s my problem... I love saying "yes." I'm still a people pleaser.

And, though I say "yes" too often, I still say "no" all the time for various reasons.

Most of the time it’s not that the idea wasn't any good…though that happens.

It’s not that we don't have the budget… though that happens.

It’s not that I simply don’t want to do that… though that happens too… just ask my staff.

Most of the time when I say "no" it is simply a "trust" issue.

And that is not what you think it is either. It’s not that I don’t "trust" the person or the idea…

It’s that I want to be trusted…

I want to run a department that is trusted…

I want to be a person that is trusted.

Here's my tension – I want to be trustworthy and I want to please people.

Here's my hard truth – I can’t do both.

I simply have too many people making requests of me. If I say "yes" to all… I'm lying to somebody.

Part of being trustworthy is being worthy of trust.

Being trustworthy does not mean your perfect. It does mean that you do what you say your going to do, and when you don’t, you "own it."
There’s a slight addition to this though... you ready?

Don’t be the guy who constantly has to "own it."
When you constantly don’t come through, even though you admit it… you’re still not trustworthy.

So, the next time someone asks for something that is too much, fight the urge to say "yes" to please the person. You are really making a choice between disappointing someone and losing trust with someone.

It is better to disappoint than to lose trust. A good leader under promises... all the time!