Acknowledge The Elephant...

As a leader, our tendency is to think that because no one is mentioning the elephant in the room, that no one else sees it. Most of the time, they do. And for every day we don't acknowledge the elephant in the room, we lose a little bit of credibility. People begin to wonder if we even see the elephant. People begin to question our own leadership senses! Just so you know, most people already see the elephant in the room. They have probably talked about it somewhere with someone. Our answer as the leader? Acknowledge the elephant! 

Elephants That Should Be Acknowledged: 

1. Unhealthy people & situations

Silos, Turf Wars, Politics, Passive Aggressive Behavior, Attempted Coup's, Public Conflicts. Unhealthy behavior by a team member (after talking wit hthe privately, of course) The Bible says that a little bit of yeast works through the whole batch of dough. Confront unhealthy aspects of culture quickly. You will gain credibility as the leader. 

2. Weak links in the chain

A team is only as strong as its weakest link. STrong players don't like to hang around mediocre players. Everyone else sees the weak link. The best players have probably talked about them. After speaking privately with the weak link, being clear about expectations, and a plan to improve, let them team know what is happening! Acknowledge that you are aware of what is happening with the person in question, and that both of you are working on a plan to improve. We lose credibility every day a mediocre team members stays around while it looks like we are doing nothing. 

3. Weak processes and systems 

Jim Collins in Good To Great said that the first thing Great companies were always willing to do was to "confront the brutal facts." They were willing to be honest with themselves about what was NOT working well.  

4. Unsuccessful events/programs. 

If an event or program id not go as expected, call it out. Everything is not a success. Create a culture where we learn from our failures, as well as our successes. If an event or program was not a big success, say so. Your credibility as a leader will grow! 

In our coaching at, we work to help you assess your culture, acknowledge the elephant, and do something about it. Interested? Drop us a line


SEE ALSO: Team Members: Products or Projects?