It Takes Two to Yes Man

Back in the 80s, I worked at the Missouri Scholars Academy for 3 summers. You don't have to be gifted to work there, just to attend. One of the teachers I met during that experience was fond of saying, "There are no dropout students, only push-out teachers."

That unique perspective stuck with me all these years, because I was drawn to the personal accountability it placed on the teacher. As a leader, I've tried to take that same approach, "There are no dropout team members, only push-out leaders."

No matter how we like to frame it, the simple truth is there are indeed dropout students and employees. I like shifting some of the accountability to the teacher/leader, but accountability actually rests on both sides of the equation.

Lately, I've been playing with that same perspective for Yes Men. What role does the leader have in creating sycophants on her team? Team members range on a scale of passive to assertive in expressing their thoughts and ideas, but leaders also vary on a range of closed to receptive.

Here's a working model of a two-by-two grid showing the relationship between leader and team member in fostering, creating Yes Man behaviors.

Both the leader and team member play a role in creating Yes Man behaviors