With all due respect, grasshopper.

3 08 2015

“If a grasshopper tries to fight a lawnmower, one may admire his courage, but not his judgement.” ~ Robert A. Heinlein

I’m a leader that enjoys hearing how I’m wrong.  I consider having someone challenge my idea a great way for me to learn a little bit more than I did when I started.  It’s good to have a team where the lowest ranking person on the team can challenge the ideas of the highest ranking person.

That being said, it can be unhealthy for a career to challenge some leaders with anything other than “all due respect”.  I’m fine joking around and having a good time, so my threshold for “due respect” is tied to my more laid back, “enlisted guy” style of leadership.  Others you will encounter in your career may have an “officer style” of leadership, where there is a clear line between officers and enlisted.  These folks might insist on being called Mr. Jones, or otherwise want a more arms lengh relationship with their team.  These people may be just as open minded on push-back, but set a higher bar on “due respect”.  Be sure you’ve felt out the leadership style of someone you may be challenging, as the percieved “style” of that challenge may over-ride the substance of your idea, and you might get smacked down.  That might mean that you have much to learn about judgement, grasshopper.

Speaking of grasshopper…


Rubes cartoons used with permission. www.rubescartoons.com




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