Earn it…

Today, a client struggling in the deep end, asked me if he should ask his key leaders a question that’s been on his mind. They’re going through a tough time and he wants to know if they’re in or out. This is never a good question, leader. Never ask your team this kinda question. Here’s why. If the team is strong, their response will be to flip you the bird, either in jest or just because. If the team is weak their response will be to exclaim that “of course we’re in,” even when they most likely aren’t. Either answer gives you zero information you can use. Remember, the root of asking are you in or are you out kinda questions is not love and a sense of calm – the root is fear and a bit of panic. Not good.

So, leader, your job is quite simple. You cannot demand respect from strong teammates. You earn it. Everyday, in thousands of small, insignificant ways your actions build commitment, compliance, or active disengagement from the once disengaged, compliant types. You must earn committed followers. You earn it, slowly and can lose it quickly. Don’t ask ’em if they’re in or out. Ask better questions, friend. And, figure out one thing – figure out how you can earn your teams commitment.

Earn it. Good…

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