GOOD CALL REF!

While watching a high school basketball game this week, I was pleasantly surprised to see an incorrect call reversed. One referee made the original call but after huddling with the other two refs he reversed his decision. As spectators, many of us were pleased with the corrected call and reinforced it by applauding and cheering instead of yelling the usual, “bad call ref!”

What if it was acceptable to do the same thing in your organization? Don’t you sometimes wish you could shout out your displeasure at the office when you see a bad call or bad decision being made? What would happen if you shouted, “bad call leader?”

While that certainly isn’t acceptable, what is acceptable, is for a leader to adjust his “call” when he or she finds it necessary to do so. Changing or adjusting decisions is not a sign of weak leadership. In fact, it’s just the opposite! A confident and self-assured leader will adjust, tweak or change decisions if they find them to be wrong or inappropriate for the conditions.

Leaders, there is nothing more frustrating to your team than for you to cover up bad decisions. You need to own them and fix them. Just like the referee did.

Team, there is nothing more frustrating to your leader than for you to cover up bad decisions. You need to own them and fix them. Just like the referee did. (Humm, do I hear an echo?)

You see, we all make mistakes from time to time and leaders are not immune. But should leaders admit when they’ve made a poor decision or acted wrong? Do we need to apologize or should we just let it blow over?

 

You are not alone!

Be assured… if you’ve made a bad decision, a wrong assessment or acted in a way that’s unacceptable, your team knows it. You may feel like “it’s lonely at the top” but trust me; it’s not invisible at the top. Your actions and decisions are not hidden because they are felt by so many.

Respect through authenticity.

I will never forget this learning and defining moment in my leadership career. I was a new leader within a large organization. I had made some decisions and assumptions and while we were reviewing the results one of my decisions wasn’t settling well for me because the team wasn’t on board. After further assessment and feedback I change our approach and took the responsibility to give altering plans to my peers. I still remember this meeting so clearly. I responded to the team saying, “This is my bad you guys, I made a poor decision and I’ll fix it.”

Later that day one of the team members asked me if we could speak privately. We walked into my office and he proceeded to explain how he appreciated that I admitted my mistake and was willing to alter the plan. He further explained that leaders around there didn’t ever admit when they were wrong yet the employee’s could easily see when management made “stupid decisions.”  He then said, “I am proud to be on your team and I will follow you.”

Respect through failure.

I was blown away with what this gentleman was telling me. Somehow, I had gained his respect yet I had made a decision that failed. It was a moment that taught me that our team doesn’t necessarily care that we screw up as leaders. What they don’t respect is our lack of owning and fixing our mistakes.

I also learned that while we may think we can hide less than accurate decisions… the front line workers know when we’ve made a “stupid decision” so they’ve already given us ownership. Ha-ha. It’s our willingness to openly admit it and fix it that draws the trust of others.

I witnessed how an honest and basic decision gathered an entire team willing to rally behind me and forever have my back. Most importantly, I learned that my actions quietly gave my team members permission to also make and own their mistakes.

Making a mistake, poor decision or inaccurate call isn’t failure… unless we hide it or cast the blame.

Good Call Ref!


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  • Jason Grant says:

    This is the BEST phrase of your post Linda:

    “I was blown away with what this gentleman was telling me. Somehow, I had gained his respect yet I had made a decision that FAILED.”

    Correct. Respect goes WAY up. I was fortunate to be directly led by you (in another organization) and you LIVED this.

    • Linda says:

      Thanks Jason and congrats on your career success! Fun watching your growth and so honored I could be a part of it.