Kids often play a game ‘Would you rather?’
It goes like this – usually accompanied by squeals of disgust and laughter:
- Would you rather have a big spider on your face or a slimey frog?
- Would you rather eat ants or dog poo?
- Would you rather break your arm or your leg?
You get the idea… Endless hours of fun for nine-year-olds!
There is a leadership version of this game, and it strikes me that leaders can struggle just as much with the choices…
- Would you rather have the tough conversation or put up with ongoing poor performance?
- Would you rather ask a ‘silly question’ in front of your peers or remain ignorant?
- Would you rather ask overtly for what you want, or put up with what you are receiving?
- Would you rather take time out to replenish yourself (and risk being seen as selfish) or keep ploughing through, knowing you are becoming less and less effective?
- Would you rather make a tough priority call, or continue dispersing energy over too many fronts to be successful?
- Would you rather ask your boss what they meant by that behaviour, or hold onto your uncertainty?
- Would you rather invest the time to ask questions that help people develop their own solutions, or continue to tell them what to do?
Brené Brown describes vulnerability as ‘uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure’. Maybe all these questions can be summarized as ‘Would you rather take a risk and be vulnerable, or always be seen as ‘strong’ (and suffer the consequences)?
What would you rather?