Do you like the 10-day “No Explanation Needed” challenges that pop up on Facebook? Surely, you’ve seen them. Respondents are supposed to post a different photo every day without providing any explanation for why they chose that photo. They then nominate someone else to do the same. 10 days. 10 photos. 10 nominations.

The challenges come in a variety of themes (e.g., best album covers, favorite books, vacation memories, pet photos, etc.). A lot of people love these posts. I, however, am not one of them.

Let me clarify: I love seeing the photos, but I hate their lack of context. I require an explanation. I want to know why that particular photo was chosen. The backstory interests me. To not receive an explanation is frustrating.

“No Explanation Needed” posts open themselves up to misinterpretation. Having to guess about the reasoning can create skewed conclusions.

When leaders try to operate in no-explanation-needed mode, they open themselves up to similar misunderstandings. They command without providing any explanation for why they want something done and expect blind obedience.

Good teammates are sometimes mistaken as being individuals who follow orders without question. But nothing could be further from the truth. Blind obedience is not a qualifying characteristic of good teammates.

Blind obedience leads to blind loyalty, which leads to loyalty blindness—the inability to recognize unethical and/or immoral behavior.

People become so loyal that they fail to see the pitfalls of their allegiance. Loyalty blindness facilitates cheating, corruption, and the tolerance of abusive behaviors. Good teammates don’t allow themselves to get entangled in any of those compromising situations.

Leaders who demand blind obedience erroneously assume their approach compels compliance and efficiency. But demanding blind obedience enables dysfunction. Is there anything more inefficient than dysfunction?

Effective leaders provide context to their instructions. They want their team members to know the reasoning behind the decision. Their methodology provides transparency and builds mindful loyalty. Effective leaders are good teammates in that they value commitment over compliance.

Hall of Fame football coach Chuck Knoll had a favorite quote: “The mercenaries will always beat the draftees, but the volunteers will crush them both.”

Draftees are motivated by fear. Mercenaries are motivated by money. Volunteers are motivated by purpose. Leaders who provide explanations clear the path for good teammates to pursue their purpose—serving the needs of their team.

Teams comprised of, and led by, good teammates (volunteers) achieve greater success.

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

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