Not afraid to tell me what I need to hear

by Jack Warren, host of the Top Coach podcast

In a recent interview to be aired soon, Matt Noone, head baseball coach at Babson College, spoke extensively about his staff. One particular point was that he likes to hire assistant coaches who are “not afraid to tell me what I need to hear.” The point being that far too often we like to surround ourselves with people who agree with us when, in reality, we ought to be aiming to do a bit of the opposite.

Hiring “yes men” is the easy way. It makes us feel good — stroking our ego with each affirmation that every decision we make is fabulous(!). I can say with some confidence that you ought to question the motives, discernment, or integrity of someone who agrees with everything you say.

While you don’t need someone who is continually argumentative or needlessly combative, you do need to surround yourself with people who will, at the least, lend a bit of discernment to each new idea that comes about. Understand that the best and most creative ideas come about with a bit of friction.

Disagreement often leads to the most creative results, as you’re forced to defend and support your ideas, shedding those things that don’t work and modifying those that have potential. Encourage questioning within your organization. Insist on professionalism, but encourage a healthy skepticism. Handled in the right way, you will find that you’re fostering an organic and dynamic organization.

Make it part of your evaluation process when bringing on new staff. That is, throw out feelers to see how willing a potential new staff member would be to champion a view that might be different than your own.

Embrace and encourage healthy disagreement within your organization. Be prepared for some unexpected ideas and terrific results.

Jack is available to speak to your team or organization or at your next function. He also provides individual and organizational coaching and consulting. You can get more information on these services at Jack’s professional services site,

Photo by Juri Gianfrancesco on Unsplash

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.