Leadership: What Britney Griner’s Prisoner Exchange shows

Leadership: Leaders play favorites, and for many good reasons.

You bring people into your circle that you trust and who provide unique value and exclude others who lack those qualities. Any sensible leader follows this practice.

There’s a difference between this approach and one that only allows people into your inner circle because they look, think, or act as you do. You might enjoy having those people around you because they make you feel good, but tribalism creates blindspots that will damage your organization.

Playing favorites based on bias convinces people that no matter how well they perform, they won’t be recognized and appreciated. That’s why talented people vote with their feet for other companies.

Great leaders consciously include those who look, think, and have significantly different experiences. These leaders help inner circle members find their voice, make sure they are heard, and take action on their input. Gaining diverse perspectives improves decision-making and helps leaders avoid getting high from their own gas. The fabled emperor with no clothes is as much a tale about sycophantic advisors as it is about self-deception.

The best leaders rotate who’s in the inner circle based on their value to the leader and organization.

People who believe they’ll always be favored get lazy and protective of their turf. The result is you get worse advice and higher tension. You’ll find yourself refereeing more disputes and missing invaluable perspectives. You have to bring in the fresh air.

It’s too bad the Biden administration could not secure the release of both Americans in Russian captivity. Leaders make decisions among difficult choices. Griner is pledging her support for Whelan’s release.

Who’s in your inner circle, and what value are they providing?

Feedback is one of the best ways to understand what’s going right and wrong and make accurate adjustments that respond to vital needs. Most leaders and organizations manage feedback poorly, and 360s tend to be poorly designed and worthless.

Respond well to feedback, and your credibility grows substantially. Your credibility diminishes if you respond poorly or act on bad advice.

Giving feedback is one of the essential roles of a leader, but it can be the most uncomfortable.

The best leaders give feedback that heightens productivity; many leaders, however, inadvertently create resentment.

The good news is that there are behaviors you can adopt that increase your credibility in giving, getting, and responding to feedback.

After this live discussion, you will be able to give feedback that increases performance without creating resentment, gain and respond to feedback in ways that boost your credibility and enhance productivity, and learn when to ignore input altogether.

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