Mark stared at the floor, his jaw clenched in frustration.
I was sitting with a leader who had just crashed and burned. He’d made a decision that had cost him his reputation and maybe his job.
He looked up at me and with a quiet whisper, Mark asked, “Why didn’t anyone tell me?”
The sad part was that it didn’t have to happen this way. People in his organization knew it wasn’t a good call…
But he never heard their feedback.
He was known for an explosive temper, for belittling and shaming people who saw things differently than he did, and he only ever asked people to validate what he thought.
In short, he never knew how to Channel Challengers.
Many people in positions of power often sabotage themselves and create environments where no one will tell them the truth – often difficult truths about themselves.
If you want to achieve breakthrough results, however, you’ve got to make the best decisions possible. To do that you need to have as much relevant information as possible.
6 Ways to Get the Information You Need to Make the Best Decision
Here are six ways to Channel Challengers and ensure you have the truth and get the feedback you need:
- Ask for the Truth
Regularly encourage dialog in your team. Ask people to teach you one thing you didn’t know. Become a person known for caring what’s really going on. Does what you hear match what you see?
- Say Thank You
When someone shares a hard truth, especially about you, thank the person for having the courage, taking the time, and caring enough to share it with you.
If you ask for input, take time to respond. Even if the ideas aren’t actionable, when you acknowledge that the ideas were heard and considered, you increase the likelihood of hearing more in the future.
- Never Ever Shoot the Messenger
If someone has the heart and courage to bring you a difficult truth, even if you vehemently disagree, bite your lip. If you attack them, they won’t bring you another concern.
- Find Your Truth-Tellers
There are people who understand their team, environment, or processes and are willing to voice their observations. Find these people, keep in regular communication, and let them know you value their observations.
- Look In the Mirror
If you suspect you are not hearing the truth from those around you, it is time to look in the mirror and examine how you are interacting with others. I would bet you are not doing one or more of the first four items on this list.
If you are struggling to see it, ask others for input, find a mentor, or consider a leadership coach.
It may take time, but if you consistently Channel Challengers by asking for the truth, showing gratitude for input, and responding to it, you will earn trust, gain credibility, and have the information you need to make the best decisions.