Creatively challenging another is a delicate act that must itself be uncorrupted. In relationships we are prone to find fault with the other before examining ourselves, and the leader-follower relationship is no exception.
Both the leader and follower who blame the other for disappointments must look inward to find their own points of responsibility. When these are identified, understood, and owned, we can more meaningfully help each other examine our respective roles.
Before challenging a leader, we might ask ourselves:
How objective am I being? Do I have my own ego-investment in this issue?
Is “the complaint” one that I’ve had with other leaders, and more probably a function of my own patterns than the leader’s?
Have I had excessive expectations of the leader, which are now causing me to be excessively critical?
Is this truly an important issue, or one in which my own sensibilities may be exaggerated?
Do I have a personal agenda that I must disclose so that I do not break faith with the leader’s trust in my counsel?
It is always more difficult to see ourselves clearly than to see others. If we feel on unsure ground, if we sense something familiar about our reaction, it may be wise to use someone else as a sounding board before we challenge the leader. Courage in relationships starts with an honest examination of ourselves.