I always say that you need people in your life that are not impressed with you. They love you for you. They celebrate you yes. They may marvel at something you do. But ultimately you are you to them and they aren’t afraid of that.
Leaders have a tendency to get off the track of their best selves with out this community.
Brad Lomenick wrote a strong blog post recently on this issue. A must read for all, especially leaders:
Leaders: Who are you accountable to?
Who speaks truth into your life? Your spouse? Your best friend? Your boss? Your co-workers?
Who has the right to honestly tell you when you are wrong, and make sure you stay in touch with reality?
Who is asking you the difficult questions that everyone else around you may be thinking but don’t want to bring up?
Do you have someone, or a group of people, who will challenge you, tell you when you are wrong, confront you on the tough issues, make your aware of areas where you might be missing the mark?
If not, figure this out. Quick. If you are surrounded by only yes people, you’re probably unaware of things that could be jeopardizing your leadership. This is a major land mine for leaders.
We all have dysfunctions. Every leader does. But our healthy response to our own dysfunctions depends on how much we let others “in” and give them full access to pushing back and kicking us in the tail if we are off base.
For many leaders, the greatest threat to our influence right now is our tendency to read our own press clippings, and continually put a “wall” up around us that protects us from any kind of honest feedback.
Don’t do this. Avoid the temptation to “remove” yourself from healthy accountability. Refuse the impulse to start surrounding yourself with people who are there only to protect you from reality. Insulation itself is not bad, but too much of it will allow reality deprivation to set in, which can be costly.
We need people around us who will tell us what we don’t want to hear, when we don’t want to hear it. Identify these people in your life, and give them full access to keeping you in check.
So, my question to you…. who is this in your life?