Becoming a Leader: Challenge #8–Encourage Dissent
During a period in the late 1990′s, Korean Air had more plane crashes than any other airline in the world. Yet, their pilots (and co-pilots) were impeccably trained. So, why the rash of crashes?
Ultimately it was determined that a culture that didn’t honor dissent, but rather honored a rigid hierarchical structure, was to blame. Co-pilots were often not involved in flight operations during critical phases of the flight because the pilot was more senior and didn’t “require” the assistance of the co-pilot. These aircraft, however, are highly complex and require the full attention of two qualified pilots (co-equals)–not one.
Your organization may not be as complex as a modern aircraft, but dissent is critical in strategic direction. When everybody has a chance not only to voice their opinions, but to be heard, you get more engagement, alignment, and insurance. Important questions are more likely to be asked and answered. Defects and dangers are more likely to be discovered.
Encourage dissent, so you can be more confident that the decisions you make are the right ones.
Becoming a Leader: Talent #8–Improve Your Emotional Intelligence
This entire series started with a discussion on emotional intelligence. Every challenge or talent that we have covered prior, and will cover going forward, has a basis in emotional intelligence. When leaders fail to encourage dissent, for instance, it’s often because they have trouble managing their emotions and social relationships. They take dissent personally–as a threat to their leadership or intelligence. As a result, they let their emotions carry too much sway in their decision-making.
Here’s a reminder about how to improve your Emotional Intelligence (EQ):
- Know your emotions (self-awareness)–Know what drives you, your weaknesses, your values and goals, and have a keen understanding of their impact on others
- Manage your emotions (self-regulation)–Don’t let emotions override your better judgment
- Motivate yourself–Be driven to self-achievement and self-improvement
- Recognize and understand other people’s emotions (empathy)–Be able to recognize the feelings of others when making decisions
- Manage relationships (social skills)–Be able to work with others in a range of settings to move people in a desired direction
If you want an objective take on your EQ, participate in a 360-degree Just Ask Leadership assessment and/or hire a coach. Your IQ may not go up, but your EQ will!