In all my years of leadership/ followership and from my experience providing leadership consulting, I have come to realize great leaders and great leadership cultures are willing to challenge “The King.”
I’m not talking about challenging King LeBron James to a game of one-on-one. I’m referring to “The King” as the Big Boss, the CEO, the Department Chair, Team Leader, the Senior Pastor, the President … the Senior Leader who’s making the decisions—“The King.”
What generally happens in an organization is “The King” develops a style, a system and a reputation for the types of decisions he or she will make and the type of feedback he or she is willing to receive.
Those closest to “The King” begin to accept those tendencies as the law, and over time, challengeable actions, decisions and offenses go un-challenged.
The excuses for not challenging “The King” range from, “That’s just how so-and-so is—you know he will not even entertain that thought.” This type of situation and culture is not good for “The King,” those who follow and the organization as a whole.
“The King” ends up leading from an isolated, rarely challenged, clueless bubble—a bubble that’s not going to bust because it’s not being poked, prodded and challenged.
Those who follow “The King” will sit around and talk about what “The King” is or is not doing and the decisions ”The King” is or is not making, which only leads to more problems for “The King” and the organization.
Great leaders challenge “The King,” which not only makes them better leaders, it makes the King a better King.
If an organization is being led by a King who is not willing to be challenged by those around him, the organization is being set up for failure.
If leaders are not willing to challenge “The King,” they will never be great leaders and are stifling their leadership potential.
If an organization doesn’t foster a “culture of challenge” at all levels, it’s time to change the culture.
Great leaders challenge “The King” and great kings create a culture where all things, decisions and people will be challenged … including themselves.
If an organizational culture allows for this absolute, imperious or overbearing control to permeate through their organization, they are setting their organization up to become a dictatorship.
Great leaders challenge “The King,” and great kings want to be challenged.