Carolyn, a Quiet Leader (QL) in a global company, has a manager whose rule is that group decisions made at staff meetings are final. He doesn’t want them coming to him later asking to re-discuss. His position is: We are too busy to re-hash topics. If a decision is made by the group, it is time to move on.
I get that it is vital to encourage teams to hold open, candid discussions in meetings to reach the best decisions. I also know that many QLs do their best thinking after a discussion, when they’re walking back from a meeting, driving home, working on something else. Reflecting on a discussion is one of their many strengths. QLs make quick decisions all day long, but expressing their deeper thinking happens when they have a chance to think.
Carolyn said the staff’s discussion flowed quickly toward what her manager wanted because he was being pressured to raise the quarter’s numbers. She knew something was wrong with the direction they were headed but could not articulate it then. The next morning she was sure it was a short-term fix that would cause long-term problems for some clients. She was clear and concise in her reasoning as she explained it to me but feared telling her manager because he has a short fuse regarding his rules.
Carolyn’s friend Shari works for a global company with a different culture. They have a “24-hour sanity check” for group decisions. If you have a better idea or contributing factor that could shift a final decision, you are encouraged to bring it up for re-discussion, rather than allow a team to head down a wrong path. They celebrate when a re-think avoids a mishap. I bet QLs contributed to this company-wide rule.
What would you do if you were in Carolyn’s shoes?