Ed Thomas Coaching

posted on Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Majority Rules or Squeaky Wheel?    

When I say majority rules I mean most of the group, and on the other side, squeaky wheel refers to the few outliers that go against the group. Which of these types of leadership prevails in your groups? Does it seem that the squeaky wheel always gets the grease? Which of these two styles of leadership do you prefer?

When I was young my parents, and all parents that I knew, taught us these basic rules of working for others.

  1. Do what is asked and do it well.

  2. Don’t be afraid to sweat or get dirty.

  3. If you complete your work and there is more time, find more work.

  4. Respect your boss.

  5. DON’T COMPLAIN (be thankful you have a job).   

More than likely, most people in leadership roles today would like their workers to follow these simple rules.

Now, back to the majority rules or squeaky wheel question. I still like to believe that the majority of people are positive, do their jobs well on a daily basis, and do so without complaining. If this is true, then group leaders that don’t want to be bothered and grease the squeaky wheel, end up with a minority of their workforce seemingly in charge. Is it possible this could be true from the smallest workgroups to the top of government? I only mention this as a reminder to group leaders that you need to be aware of how the majority of your group views your leadership.

It seems to be true that when you work for the public, you often find that the majority of the people are satisfied and say little. These people support your leadership and often do not recognize your work. Not that this is a bad thing, it just seems to be the reality. It also seems to be true that those who are not satisfied will be heard from– they do not hesitate to share their disapproval (especially with social media). This can be a positive if problems are identified and resolved. It’s a big job for leadership to evaluate each situation and to try to ensure that their decisions are what is best for the whole group. Grease the squeaky wheels, but stay focused on what’s best for the rest of the group as well. It’s true that being a leader sometimes means you are going to upset someone.

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."   

 Galatians 6:9            

Your Challenge    

As we progress through today’s world, let’s put our focus on being problem solvers not just problem identifiers. When problems are identified, we need to ask ourselves, “What am I doing to make it better?” And remember, with as many people that are quick complainers, let us also take the time to recognize and compliment the good work from people.

Al Kerns & the Ed Thomas Family Foundation

This post is written by Al Kerns, a long-time friend of Ed Thomas and a team member with the Ed Thomas Family Foundation. Al coached with Ed for 30+ years at Aplington-Parkersburg.