What Are Your Non-Negotiables?
Leaders who prefer principles and values to guide them are also often drawn to Non-Negotiables to set clear lines for personal responsibility within the team.
Non-negotiables can highlight what leaders deem unacceptable from team members. The consequences of violating a non-negotiable are serious. The violation can trigger a strong reminder, difficult confrontation, or something even more severe.
By letting everyone on a team know which lines can’t be crossed, leaders don’t surprise anyone when they come down hard on a team member who engages in an inconsistent choice.
Whereas values represent positive reinforcement of what matters to a leader, non-negotiables anticipate potentially bad behaviors and attempt to prevent them before they happen.
For good leaders, this is a short but important list. As an example, non-negotiables might include a hard position on how team members engage in conflict (no raising of voices or inflammatory remarks), or how they share information (keeping others informed about decisions that affect them is mandatory on this team).
In extreme instances, a non-negotiable may come pre-loaded with a consequence. “If you engage in sexual innuendo, commentary, or humor on this team, you will be asked to leave the organization.” “Anyone taking credit for someone else’s ideas will have to publicly apologize to that person in front of the entire team.”
But most non-negotiables are simply an extension of a leader’s values and draw a sharp edge to what is important and without give.
“We start meetings on time and don’t wait for anyone.”
“To attend any meeting, reading the advance documents is required.”
“The deadlines for the monthly reports are never to be missed”
These are all classic non-negotiables.
In addition to values and guiding principles, the best leaders have a clear set of non-negotiables that help to further emphasize what matters to them. It is always a sound idea to communicate these standards to the team before any bad incident demands a teaching moment.
What are your non-negotiables? Does everyone on the team know them?
These daily Field Notes are just the tip of the iceberg for what Admired Leadership has to offer. For instance, we’ve been meeting together for more than 30 years at a variety of single and multi-day retreats to teach and explore the unpublished Admired Leadership behaviors with leaders just like you. Our next in-person opportunity is a one-day event coming up in Austin, TX next month, on October 24th. Learn more here.