The Perils of Being the Shell Answer Man

Bill Garcia* is a manager at a manufacturing company whoManagers Being Right destroys commitment reveled in the fact that employees came to him for the answers. In fact, this made him feel really smart and helpful.  Problem was, when his company grew and his role as a manager grew, he found himself frustrated that his employees couldn’t make smart decisions on their own. He felt they lacked initiative. 

What he didn’t realize was his need for control and to be right. Isn’t that in all of us?

Whether it be competition from those older/younger, a scary job market, the need for security — we have good reasons why we want…need.. to be right. After all, we think our credibility and our success depend on our ability to have the answers. Problem is that it is impossible to always have the right answers. Also, the need to be right often excludes the contribution of others which destroys commitment.  It’s not their idea; it’s yours.

This is a hard concept for high achieving managers to change. But, according to leadership development coach Marshall Goldsmith, having to be right is a relationship and commitment killer:


Leadership studies show that among the top critical skills of managers is their ability to coach and develop team players. That takes self-awareness and trust on both sides. But, it really is the only way to expand smart decision-making and initiative beyond one person.

Certainly is a lot less exhausting!

*Name changed

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