If You’re Naked, Will Your Employees Tell You?

By Herman Pool
In Marketing
October 24, 2012

Kat / Vertical Axion


Don’t get us wrong: respect is a wonderful thing. It’s a nice thing to know that your employees are in your corner when it gets down to the wire.

But when others agree with you simply because you’re in a leadership position, that’s when problems can happen. What if the people who work for you are simply pacifying you? What if you’re not really leading, but you’re simply an emperor with no clothes?

If you aren’t familiar with the tale, it’s about a self-centered emperor that hires a team of expert tailors to make him an outfit out of cloth that’s only visible to those who are wise. The tailors sucker the emperor into believing that the cloth exists by making a huge show out of nothing. The emperor then claims he can see the cloth, and he demands that the tailors make him an outfit from the exquisite material.

Of course, the emperor parades down the street in his new royal outfit, and the crowds pretend that he is indeed not naked. Yet a small school boy who doesn’t know the customs and tact of his society just yet remarks, loudly, that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes. Laughter ensues.

How can you tell if you’re one of those leaders?

Does Anyone Ever Tell You No?

Sometimes there’s simply no reason to tell you no, but if no one ever protests against anything you do, you might have a problem on your hand. If the last time you heard an honest, stern no was when you asked your mom to buy you a car, you may want to rethink what your team is thinking of you. The word “no” may seem like a roadblock or an excuse not to do something, but it can also lead to stronger, more positive conversations about ideas.

Does Anyone Want to Take Any Credit?

If your team is always willing to hand the credit over to you without giving any to themselves, it behooves you to ask why they aren’t. Taking some credit, even if it’s just a little, and wanting recognition for accomplishment is part of human nature. So why aren’t they sharing the front stage with you? Maybe they know you’re the genius behind everything, or maybe they know you aren’t willing to share the credit in the first place.

Do they Praise ALL of Your Ideas?

We all have good ideas, and we all have bad ones too. One of the reasons you have a team in the first place is so that they can help keep your visions from turning into hallucinations. When every idea you spit out is golden, even when it involves giraffes, you may want to reapproach your team and see what they really think.

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