The “Y’a qu’à, faut qu’on” leader

The “Y’a qu’à, faut qu’on” leader

Have you already met or worked with a “Y’a qu’à, faut qu’on” leader?

Business literature is ripe with dozens of descriptions of leaders types and styles.

I guarantee though that the “Y’a qu’à, faut qu’on” leader type is rarely, if at all, described.

“Y’a qu’à, faut qu’on” is a French expression, literally meaning “Just do this, we need to do that”, used to describe people in companies who are very good at giving all sorts of advice (that they will usually not follow themselves) while being completely oblivious of the challenges faced by others to implementing them.

This type of behavior is harmful to the cohesion of the team because these leaders may be seen as a “I know it all” type of leader.

More critical though is that this behavior does not engage the team, does not create trust, does not create the conditions for a safe space where people can make mistakes and learn from them, and does not give the leader an opportunity to get good feedback from their team.

This type of leader is definitely not a coach for their team.

Now, don’t get me wrong, most of us will fall in that trap at some point in our career. For sure, I can remember a few instances in my career where I erred on the “Y’a qu’à, faut qu’on” behavior. I learned though that it is not efficient at all and does not bring any valuable result.

Instead, a leader who is a coach for their team and creates the trust and engagement needed for high performance will do at least these 3 things:

1. Be curious, listen, ask lots of questions instead of offering solutions to all issues that come his way

2. Ask questions that offer the others an opportunity to reflect, propose something, or feel trusted. For instance, a question like “What alternatives do you see to solve this issue?” is a much better question than “Why did you do this?” or “Why don’t you try this?” which are more accusative

3. They will help their team learn from mistakes (again by asking the right questions) and offer support when the team needs it

Coaching the team is one of the 12 dimensions of my leadership model. I explain it through a FREE 12-week leadership challenge that you can join here:

What else have you seen great coach leaders do?

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