Ross Prof to Trump: Want to Stop the Leaks? Adopt This One Basic Habit of Good Leaders


Michigan Ross Professor Jim Westphal spoke to the Washington Post this week about President Donald Trump’s first full cabinet meeting in the White House, which featured a widely publicized roundtable of praise offered to Trump by cabinet officials.

Westphal told the Post why Trump should be worried about his subordinates showering him with such effusive praise.

Recent research from Westphal shows that managers who “suck up”  to the CEO and other top leadership are significantly more likely to admit to making negative comments about those same leaders to journalists.

Research shows that employees “feel resentment for having to show deference,” Westphal said. “The resentment could lead to a natural desire to make leaks to outsiders that reflect poorly on the leader.”

A praise parade from managers to leadership has several other negative impacts to team performance as well. It discourages dissenting views, nurtures over-confidence in strategies that could be failing, and could lead to strategic inertia.

“That’s why it’s considered good management practice to shun [praise], encourage dissenting views, and reward people who speak their minds to prevent mistakes,” the Post said.

Read the full article in the Washington Post

Connect with Michigan Ross        
Ross School of Business