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My boss, the hypocrite

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Q: Our CEO is always telling us to be more open about our failures. He wants us to innovate, and he knows that means some botched experiments. But the few of us who have taken high-profile risks have not been lauded; in fact, he’s privately (and publicly) shamed and embarrassed us. Is there a polite way to call someone a hypocrite?

A: No. But you can privately level with him. I once told a boss, “Look, you make a good case for urging us to be open to change. I’m with you. But if we screw up when trying to adjust to change, give us a second or third chance before you come down too hard.” He understood. So I suggest you tell him that you’re all for making bold bets that might not pan out. Just remind him that for best results, it helps to create an environment where everyone can learn and grow—and no one feels targeted for trying and failing to do something of value.

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