I Would Tell You What I Really Think, But…

Have you ever been in a boring meeting where you thought  to yourself, “I would tell the boss what I really think, but I don’t want to get fired.” As a consequence, you reign yourself in. The boss feels free to say whatever he wants, but you can’t. It is unfair. It is a double standard.

So, you zone out and fantasize about the day when you can tell your people whatever is on your mind—a time where they have to sit there and take it from you.

Be careful. This fantasy is a subtle trap.

While it is true that you cannot speak your mind without consequences, it is also true that your boss cannot either. When he disallows your opinions and thoughts, he has cut himself off from the very thing he needs. He needs your ideas, your motivation, and your heart.

The Cost of Arrogance

Why would anyone limit himself in such an absurd way?

Maybe he thinks the he already understands what you do. If he did your job before he was promoted to his job, perhaps he thinks that since he had the answers then, he has the answers now. It does not matter that the times may have changed.

Or, perhaps he simply does not value you because he is the superior type. Limiting your input is a less-than-subtle way for him to show you who is boss.

Either approach stems from insecurity.

Get your MBA Now from Charleston Southern UniversityAn effective boss is humble enough to know that he does not have all the answers and he is secure enough to let you speak your mind.

What other consequences occur when your boss does not make it safe for you to speak up? I would love to hear what you have experienced.

-Darin Gerdes, Ph.D.

November 23, 2012

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Dr. Gerdes is the Director of the MBA Program at Charleston Southern University

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Filed under Leadership, Management, Organizational Behavior, Trust

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