Bernard Tyson, the CEO of health-care provider Kaiser Permanente, keeps an American flag in his office.
“It sits right on my desk, and there’s an American flag in the boardroom where I sit,” he tells the New York Times. “The reason the flag is in my office is that one of the beauties of living in this country is the freedom of speech.”
Tyson explains that he wants employees to walk into his office and feel free to speak their minds. He tells people: “You can say whatever you want to say in this office to me. Just understand that I also have the freedom not to agree.”
Even when he differs with his employees, Tyson says he prefers to know what their thoughts and opinions are. Doing so allows him to make the best decisions for the organisation as a whole.
And, when necessary, he doesn’t shy away from giving tough feedback. He also keeps a miniature aeroplane on his desk, and tells people before difficult conversations to “put on your seatbelt… we’re going through some turbulence.”
“Feedback, to me, is a gift,” Tyson says. “The feedback I’m giving is to help you be even more effective, and therefore the team will be more effective.”
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