It Is Okay To Play The Boss Card

The second management secrets of the lazy CEO is it’s okay to pull the boss card. We all want to be collaborative. We want to be collegial. We want people to bring their ideas. And you know, I think hopefully you all know that if pulling rank as boss becomes a pattern, you’re not going to get the best results. You just not going to get people to engage in what you’re doing. And so there’s always this balance of getting engagement and coaching people into the right direction versus pulling the boss card.

So I just want to give you permission that once in a while, it’s okay to pull the boss card. People respect you, people expect it, and it’s okay to pull the boss card once in a while now. So I’ll give you the example. I was working with a leadership group, I was trying to be collaborative, but there were times when I’d actually figured out the answer and I really didn’t want to hear what they had to say. And so I thought I was a really good actor and I hid the fact that I didn’t care what they said, but I wasn’t, and finally my CFO pulls me aside, says, Jim look, if you’ve already figured out the answer, just tell us we’re okay with you just telling us the answer sometimes, meaning it’s okay to pull the boss card.

And after that, I said, look, I’m going to lay out what I think I want to do. I’m open to input on it, but I’m pretty fixed that this is the right idea, but let’s see if we can make it a better idea. That was more effective than me pretending to be collaborative because they saw right through it. So look, even in a very collegial, collaborative environment, once in a while, we have to pull the boss card and say, look, I’m just sorry, but I got pretty clear ideas on this and I’m going to lay them out. And I think we’re going to do this. So you all have permission to pull the boss card if you’ve resisted it, trying to hope the team would get there feel free to do it. Just announce it. Look, I’m going to pull, I’m going to pull the boss card.

Don’t Sink the Boat

The truth is that my teams have influenced my decisions greatly over the years–particularly when it came to major issues, the ones below the waterline that could potentially sink our ship. When our collective success depended on a particular decision, that’s when I wanted the most input from my team. Even if we had limited information to work with, I knew we would arrive at a better decision, one that wouldn’t sink our boat, if I got everyone involved in making the best possible decision.

Also remember, there is a significant cost when you solicit input from the team. Conducting those meetings takes time and effort. And sometimes, there are decisions that aren’t worth making that kind of investment. That’s when it’s OK to play the boss card–as long as you explain your rationale for doing so. In other words, don’t ask for input when you don’t want it. But also explain why you did what you did.

The second management secrets of the lazy CEO is it’s okay to pull the boss card. We all want to be collaborative. We want to be collegial. We want people to bring their ideas. And you know, I think hopefully you all know that if you constantly pull the boss card, you’re not going to get the best results. You just not going to get people to engage in what you’re doing. And so there’s always this balance of getting engagement and coaching people into the right direction versus pulling the boss card.

You Have Permission

So I just want to give you permission that once in a while, it’s okay to pull the boss card. People respect you, people expect it, and it’s okay to pull the boss card once in a while now. So I’ll give you the example. I was working with a leadership group, I was trying to be collaborative, but there were times when I’d actually figured out the answer and I really didn’t want to hear what they had to say. And so I thought I was a really good actor and I hid the fact that I didn’t care what they said, but I wasn’t, and finally my CFO pulls me aside, says, Jim look, if you’ve already figured out the answer, just tell us we’re okay with you just telling us the answer sometimes, meaning it’s okay to pull the boss card.

And after that, I said, look, I’m going to lay out what I think I want to do. I’m open to input on it, but I’m pretty fixed that this is the right idea, but let’s see if we can make it a better idea. That was more effective than me pretending to be collaborative because they saw right through it. So look, even in a very collegial, collaborative environment, once in a while, we have to pull the boss card and say, look, I’m just sorry, but I got pretty clear ideas on this and I’m going to lay them out. And I think we’re going to do this. So you all have permission to pull the boss card if you’ve resisted it, trying to hope the team would get there feel free to do it. Just announce it. Look, I’m going to pull, I’m going to pull the boss card.

There Is A Cost When You Solicit Input

Also remember, there is a significant cost when you solicit input from the team. Conducting those meetings takes time and effort. And sometimes, there are decisions that aren’t worth making that kind of investment. That’s when it’s OK to play the boss card–as long as you explain your rationale for doing so. In other words, don’t ask for input when you don’t want it. But also explain why you did what you did.