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The Value of Pushback: Why Every Leader Needs a Challenger

Do you have someone on your team who will push back on you and challenge your thinking? Not just a coach, but someone on your team, working alongside you daily who isn’t afraid to speak their mind and share their opinion even when it’s different from yours.

When was the last time you had a healthy debate in a team or leadership meeting?

When was the last time someone on your team told you “no, we can’t [or shouldn’t] do that.”

When was the last time your idea for a program/product/service changed (probably for the better) after sharing it with your team?

When was the last time you found yourself adjusting your expectations after running an idea past your team?

Have you ever learned of an issue on your team and found out that others also knew but no one brought it to your attention?

Has anyone on your team said “yeah, I thought that might happen” when things didn’t work out? 

You do not need a team of people who just say yes to you, You want to create a team of experts who bring their own unique brilliance to your business so that you can 10X your results and impact. 

(Note: When I refer to experts here, we want everyone on the team to see themselves as an expert at their role, no matter what it is – from client care, the admin assistant, tech support, to your leadership team.)

Why is this important?

Gather Unique Perspectives: Getting feedback from everyone on your team ensures that you are considering all perspectives, especially ones that you can’t see or wouldn’t naturally think about. Unique and creative ideas result from these conversations and your project will become that much more impactful. 

Foster Engagement and Buy-In: When you create a culture of healthy feedback and debate your team feels engaged, they get to share their ideas, and you get their buy-in on the project. With engagement and team buy-in you will meet your goals with greater ease and efficiency.  

Meet Goals and Exceed Expectations: If you are the only one setting the goals and expectations and then just expecting your team to rise to the occasion, you might find yourself wondering why your team can’t deliver. Co-creating goals with your team and setting shared expectations will help to ensure you aren’t feeling constantly let down. 

how do you create this environment?

Hire Leaders and Experts:  Right from the start, you want to recruit people who see themselves as leaders and experts in their own right. Again, it doesn’t matter what role you are hiring for, you are looking for people who see themselves as experts at what they do.  

Align With Core Values: Core values create the foundation for your team to have healthy debate, knowing that ultimately this discussion is for the greater good of the business.  It will also help to ensure you can recalibrate after a disagreement or a difference in opinion. 

Intentionally Ask for Feedback: Giving and receiving feedback is foundational in developing high-performing teams.  When creating a culture where your team will openly share their ideas and push back on you, ask intentional questions to gather feedback.  

“What do you like about this idea?”

“What do you not like about this?”

“What would get in the way of us achieving our goal?”

“What would a better version of this look like?”

As someone who has been the right hand and trusted advisor to the CEO, I will mention that sometimes I need time to think about my feedback and opinion on something.  So, allow space for your team to think through their feedback by either providing a summary of your idea in advance of your meeting, or setting time to circle back on a conversation. 

Incorporate your team’s ideas:  I feel like this goes without saying, but if you are getting feedback from your team and never listening to it, your team will eventually stop giving feedback. Going back to the above point about co-creating goals, give your team the power to 10x your idea and then empower them to bring the idea to life.   

Encouraging your team to share their brilliance and challenge your thinking leads to exponential growth and success. If you’re ready to enhance your team’s dynamics and unlock your business’s potential, schedule an Accelerator Call. Let’s explore how to create a team that thrives on constructive feedback and drives impactful results.