By Art Rainer
The answer can be a leader’s worst nightmare.
Yes-men are those who consistently fail to disagree with their leaders. They never suggest a differing opinion. Simply put, they say “yes.”
Certainly, most leaders would want to surround themselves with people who actually like them and appreciate their leadership. But yes-men do not occur because of friendliness or fondness.
Yes-men arise out of fear or disengagement.
Let’s look at four reasons whey leaders need to avoid yes-men:
1. Yes-men encourage groupthink
They don’t bring new or challenging ideas to the table. They only support the idea the leader presented. And their apparent agreeableness makes it even more difficult for an opposing voice to arise from the other team members.
2. Yes-men are not bought-in
They don’t really care about the team and organization’s success. It does not concern them that a bad idea is moving forward. They won’t try to stop it.
3. Yes-men don’t take responsibility
Yes-men never blame themselves. They are professional finger-pointers. When things go south, they are quick to blame others.
4. Yes-men won’t stop you from doing something really stupid
Leaders can make decisions that injure their reputation and the organization. Sometimes, the decision may even be illegal. Leaders need to surround themselves with those who are willing to step in and prevent a disastrous decision from taking place.
The echo chamber is a dangerous place to be for any leader. Yes-men are hazardous to the leader, team, and organization. Leaders are wise to avoid these type of team members.
Leaders should say “no” to yes-men.
Art Rainer is Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and cofounder of Rainer Publishing. He is the author of several books, Raising Dad and Simple Life.