Sometimes you have to spend some political capital

5 05 2015

“The hallmark of a great captain is the ability to win the toss, at the right time.” ~Richie Benaud

In a recent comic I talked about group-think, and how it occurs when a leader sits down and says “Here’s the problem, and I think we should do this…”  Many teams will simply agree with the leader, maybe tweak the suggestion a bit, but mostly they’ll agree because “she’s the boss”.  Our job as leaders should be to state the problem, listen to the possible solutions, and sometimes pick the right one.  Often the group will come to consensus before the leader weighs in, simply needing a thumbs up.  Basically, when possible, let the team decide.

Today’s quote refers to those (hopefully) rare times when a leader has to use their positional authority to force the coin toss to come up heads.  There are times when we just have to say “because I said so” (but try to say it nicer than that!).  These may be due to non-disclosure agreements (i.e. you’re contractually obligated not to talk about “why”), or they may be due to other confidential matters, like an employee’s medical situation, or other confidential intel that you may have.  If you do your job right, and let the team make most of the decisions, you should have enough political capital so that when it’s time to mandate the decision, your team will trust that you have good reasons for doing so.

Or, I could be totally misreading the quote.  🙂

Speaking of toss…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




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