Three Words for Better Leadership

better leadership

People who work in technology and business are prone to hero worship. As such, it is not surprising that my management team and I found ourselves discussing a recent stakeholder letter from Amazon founder, chief disruptor and hero, Jeff Bezos.

In his letter to the employees of Amazon, Bezos talked about companies being in Day 1 and Day 2. He describes Day 1 as the time when a company, its employees, its shareholders, and its customers thrive.  In Day 1, companies continuously work hard at perfecting the business, changing and renovating to keep customers happy. Bezos emphasizes that no business should ever want to transition to Day 2…the dawn of Day 2, the day we accept “comfortable” is the beginning of the end.

The power of three words: “Disagree and Commit.”

Good leadership knows how to harness the power of these three words. Agreeing to “disagree and commit” will not only save you time when making decisions, but will also motivate your people to strive for higher but achievable objectives. In his letter, Bezos gave the example of a project he disagreed with, but, in support of one of his teams, he committed to the project nonetheless. He gave the green light and not once regretted his decision.

In the same manner, sometimes resources are wasted and decisions are delayed for fear of overlooking every minute detail. A quicker “Yes” can be far better than a protracted “Yes” for several reasons:

  1. Delays in decision-making and vacillating can dampen your team’s enthusiasm for the project.
  2. Commitment provides opportunities to the team to prove themselves and grow better as professionals and future leaders.
  3. Acknowledging you don’t have the exclusive on great ideas and allowing your people enough leeway to find solutions, ultimately brings innovation into the organization. According to Bezos, “thinking your team is wrong and missing the point” is missing a golden opportunity to show true support.

Great leadership should be willing to venture outside the comfort zone or risk taking their organization into Day 2. “Venturing” should include making sure that projects have sufficient resources to succeed. Effective leaders know when to trust gut instinct and when to hold back, and phenomenal leaders know when to trust the instinct of their people. This means giving people the opportunities to experiment rather than stifling their creativity.

Better Leadership for Life

This kind of leadership works not just in the corporate environment but also at home and in personal relationships. Instead of crushing suggestions or being critical, let others take the lead. You might find yourself enjoying it. After all, you are with people you love and giving them the chance to take the reins is sometimes more important than being assertive.

For more information on this topic or to exchange ideas and perspectives, please contact us to discuss further.