6 Signs That Your Team Are Yes Men (Or Woman)

6 Signs That Your Team Are Yes Men (Or Woman)

As the new campaign was just about to launch, James, the lead on the project looked around the room and asked if anyone had anything to add or change. The room was silent and there was a lot of people looking down at notes and phones but no-one had anything else to contribute. “So everyone thinks this is as good as we can do? Nowhere we can make it better?”. Still everyone shook their heads and looked down.

It had been an easy process and the marketing campaign was looking pretty good. James had led the team and had contributed the bulk of the ideas. He had handpicked every member and they all knew what he liked and what he didn’t. Everyone was on the same page. Like minded people who saw eye-to-eye. James really liked his team.

Two months later, the numbers were in and the campaign tanked! It was a flop!

Why? It all appeared good at the meetings and everyone agreed with the direction.

The reason the campaign failed was poor leadership that avoided conflict and stress. James didn’t want to be challenged and his choice of team reflected that. James surrounded himself with Yes Men. The lack of stress and differing ideas made the campaign flat and one-dimensional.

If you are a leader, how do you know if you are surrounded by “Yes Men”?

Here are SIX signs to look out for:

  1. You are rarely challenged. If you pitch an idea to your team and there is no resistance, no one challenges the validity of the idea or offers alternatives, you are in a room of “Yes Men”.
  2. Challenging you doesn’t end well. On the rare occasion you are challenged, you easily deal with it by either ignoring, ridiculing the challenger or discrediting the suggestion. This type of leadership makes team members think twice about offering suggestions and makes it less likely people challenge you in the future. It’s poor leadership and you should stop it NOW.
  3. No Diversity. When you look at your team, they are mostly similar in age, sex, ethnicity and interests. This type of group may be good for a game of golf, but, to be creative, brave and innovative a team needs diversity. Different perspectives and opinions are critical for high-performance.
  4. Ideas need your approval. When team members seek your approval before fully formulating and growing their idea, you have “Yes Men”. Having a culture where it is “safe to fail” is essential to being STRESS TEFLON and even more essential for innovation. (note: safe to fail doesn’t mean safe to not try).
  5. Lack of initiative. You notice that unless you give instructions nothing new gets done. Cultures like this are everywhere and people’s survival needs and their need to avoid conflict will make these businesses forever mediocre. Great leaders make environments that reward initiative and embrace ideas that are not their own.
  6. No heated debates. When pulses start to race and debate heats up magic can happen. Great ideas need spirited debates to see the problems from many angles. When everyone says yes, these debates don’t happen and nor does innovation.

If you have a threat mentality to stress, you will develop any number of avoidance strategies to help ensure the stress is limited. Team members become “Yes Men” as a way of avoiding conflict with their superior.

In a leadership role, stress avoidance strategies will involve surrounding yourself with ”like minded people”. As a leader this is another way of saying “people who agree with me”. Treating stress with a threat mentality makes stress an unpleasant thing that needs to be avoided. In threat mode, stress will make you “defensive and dumb”. Employing “Yes men” avoids stress but also avoids success and any chance of developing new ideas.

Great leaders take a challenge mentality to stress. They actively search for people who will challenge them and see things from different perspectives. True leaders embrace a differing opinion and will actively recruit diversity into their teams. They will look for what type of personality will add to the group and not just placate to their ego. This is the difference between arrogance and intelligence. (link) Arrogant leaders have all the answers, intelligent leaders have all the right questions.

Surrounding yourself with yes men is a good way to avoid stress and a really poor way to run a business.

STRESS TEFLON teaches you to no longer see stress as a threat and it becomes easy to embrace the challenge response to stress. Leaders who utilise stress have more energy, a better understanding of people strengths and an improved ability to solve problems as a team. It is up to the leaders to build high performance teams and utilise the stress that comes along with differing opinions.

Innovation can’t happen without it.

Share this with someone who challenges you and thank them for the challenge.


It’s great being you when stress doesn’t stick

Do you struggle with stress? Let’s be honest, that’s most of us. Maybe you’ve even read articles on how to relieve your stress. But in STRESS TEFLON, Luke Mathers and Mick Zeljko explain that eliminating your stress is not the answer. Instead, you can utilise stress to get more out of life, becoming a better version of yourself.


Receive your free copy today

Enter your email address below to join our tribe and we’ll send you a digital copy of Stress Teflon for FREE so you can start shifting your mindset today!


Why we do what we do and how to change.

Ever thought, “why the hell do I do that”?
We all have habits that no longer help and that we’d like to change. This book looks at habits through the lens of curiosity, not scarcity. Take the stress of of change by getting CURIOUS