Exposing Bobble Heads

bobble head

Bobble head leaders don’t say what they really think. They go with the flow to get ahead. Bobble heads don’t speak their mind they defend the company line.

Leaders become bobble heads to protect position and get promoted. It’s dishonest and disingenuous. Look around. How many bobbing heads sit at the table? Is anyone disruptive?

Bobble-head organizations:

  1. Lose creative contributions.
  2. Make lousy, status quo decisions and complain about status quo results.
  3. Reflect fear based cultures.

The reason you don’t speak your mind:

  1. Untrustworthy team mates who use your ideas against you.
  2. Organizational culture that celebrates going along to get along – “Yes cultures.”
  3. Fear of being ridiculed for being wrong.

Good girls and boys go along and get stars on their report cards. Bad girls and boys – disruptors, dissenters, and the unorthodox – go to detention.


Top leadership is fully to blame for bobble-heading. Rather than punish bobble heads they’re rewarded. Organization grow weak and leaders bask in fake approval.

Dying organizations thrive on stability, agreement, and orderly meetings.

Constructive dissent:

Peter Drucker commented, “Dissent, even conflict, is necessary, indeed desirable. Without dissent and conflict there is no understanding. And without understanding, there are only wrong decisions. 

Dissent is more than good, it’s noble.

People who change the world disrupt and critique. The path to exceptional is paved with the bones of the mediocre.

Creating dissent:

  1. Assign dissent in the next meeting. Put a devil suit on half the team and challenge them to challenge ideas.
  2. Ask everyone to make a list of reasons the initiative on the table won’t work.
  3. Establish three options and have everyone advocate for all three.

The path to oblivion is smooth. Great decisions are born in conflict. Create structures for constructive dissent.

How can organizations create constructive dissent?

How can leaders avoid being mired in dissent?