I see it all the time; business owners who hire professionals that turn around and try to tell them how to do their job. Some call it micromanaging. Others call it “big boss syndrome.” What I know is this concept just doesn’t make sense. Why would you do that? Assuming that the quote “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” was actually said by Steve Jobs…I think he had it right.
Smart people, by their very design and nature, will not automatically be “yes” men. They will question, analyze and reason with any requests that are made of them and, if they disagree with your position, they are going to tell you so and they will not do what you ask them to do if they know it is wrong or is going to bring harm to you in the long run. Professionals are not going to tell you what you WANT to hear…they are going to tell you what you NEED to hear.
A wise colleague of mine once said that the best you can do is advise your client on the best/right choice to make and let your client take it from there. In the legal world this is true…after all, if the client goofs things up, and you have to fix it, you can look at it as job security. Right? I think, however, in a business setting, and you are an employee who has been hired to do an important job, this can be an even harder pill to swallow. I suppose this is because if the boss screws things up, it could mean that you end up out of a job, or worse, which will make that employee fight harder against “bad” decisions.
Bottom line, if you want a “yes” man all of the time…don’t hire a smart person. It just won’t work.
One thought on “Smart people will, by default, never be “yes” men…”
This is exactly why I left my last job. I couldn’t in good conscience stay and do what my boss asked of me because it was undoubtedly going to cost him a ton of money and heartache. He was a relatively simple man, though a very kind one, and he couldn’t see that he was asking me to kill his small business. I left on good terms, but it was a sad reason to have to leave, for sure.