Dealing with uncertain decisions that you make as a boss

Posted: July 6, 2010 in work
Tags: , , , ,

Bob Sutton makes a compelling case for why bosses should sort of lie to their teams, and express false confidence in decisions taken in uncertain situations. While Approaching the uncertainty with confidence is a good thing, expressing false confidence to the team may not be the best thing to do always. It might be the right approach if the team is relatively clueless and the boss calls all the shots and is the only one with the complete picture. But this may not be true in most of the cases. The team may have a mix of people on the spectrum ranging from exceptionally talented super stars to the average Joe. Some of the good guys might generally be able to figure out that the situation is not as hunky-dory as the boss is claiming it to be. It’s probably better to take these people into confidence. For people who seek challenges and are excited to explore new territory, uncertainty may actually mean an opportunity, and they might be able to handle the situation well enough. Besides, there is a possibility that these people will raise relevant question pointing to the uncertainty if the boss tries to hide this fact, and it can undermine the credibility of the boss.

Also, in the event that the boss’s decisions turn out to be wrong, being honest and quickly correcting the course may not be enough if the boss had expressed false confidence. Won’t the team be less confident of the boss’ confidence this time? won’t that in a way dilute the credibility of the boss?


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