Be Respected While Making Unpopular Decisions
Indecisive leaders drive people crazy. “My boss won’t make a decision!” But, unpopular decisions have negative backlash. “The boss doesn’t care what I think.”
It’s “Solution Saturday,” Richard suggest we discuss:
“Doing unpopular things and being even more respected for it.”
It doesn’t matter what you do or say, if people don’t respect you. Being liked is nice; being respected essential.
Unpopular and respected:
The way you make unpopular decisions is as important as the decisions themselves. I can respect you, even if I don’t like you.
Respect is about character and relationship, not decisions.
- Adopt a relaxed, gentle, welcoming demeanor. Breathe deep. Smile. Gentle eye-contact.
- Be a learn-it-all, not a know-it-all.
- Lower the volume and soften the tone of your voice.
- Reject the trappings of position and authority. When you pull rank, they close down.
- Include others as early and often as possible.
The deeper issue leaders face is building relationships before unpopular decisions are made.
- Share information prolifically. Secrets lead to fear and manipulation.
- When you can’t share information, explain why.
- Answer public concerns quickly, directly, and publicly.
- Apologize when you exclude or walk on others. Don’t say, “I didn’t mean to.”
- Confess mistakes. Doing your best is not an excuse. We already know you’re doing your best. Try:
- I’m sorry.
- I screwed up.
- I apologize.
- I was wrong. Please forgive me. (This option is for the truly courageous.)
- Commit to what’s best for the organization, even if it hurts.
- Confront the brutal facts with kindness. Pretending invites disrespect.
- Reflect on past performance. Avoid behaviors that didn’t work.
- Adopt behaviors that worked in the past.
- Pursue outside perspectives. You get more of the same, if you do more of the same.
- Diffuse resistance:
- Maintain openness regarding methods.
- Open up, rather than pushing back.
- Walk while talking.
- Ask questions.
- Accept how people feel.
How might leaders be even more respected while doing unpopular things?
Richard left his topic on Facebook. Leave your suggested topics for next “Solution Saturday” next Friday. I’m sending Richard a Leadership Freak coffee cup because we used his topic for “Solution Saturday.”
I love this quote from you: “Be a learn-it-all, not a know-it-all.” No one will ever know it all; and of course we can’t learn it all either… BUT we will be respected if we honestly seek to learn it all. Claiming to know it all only pegs us for the fool we are…
Thanks jcbjr. Yes, we can trust people who are committed to learning. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to respect people who always have the answers.
I really like the humility part. Sometimes it can be difficult to stay calm and humble when everything is on fire. This describes my mentor to a tee, now I know why they are my mentor 🙂
Setup a dunk tank and let employees that are really miffed about the decision come try to dunk you. What could go wrong?
I love “Solution Saturday”! This post jumped out at me in many ways. I took time to go back and pick the top points for me at this time in my journey. It is easy to agree with the importance of these points but making them happen takes being consistently intentional.
*Respect is about character and relationship, not decisions.
*Be a learn-it-all, not a know-it-all.
*The deeper issue leaders face is building relationships before unpopular decision are made.
*Share information prolifically. Secrets lead to fear and manipulation. When you can’t share information, explain why.
Dan, the being a -learn-it- all is the essence of our journey! KAPOW as you so often say!
“2.Be a learn-it-all, not a know-it-all.”
YES! Pure gold!
I agree that it takes courage to seek forgiveness. It shows personal character and humility. I also appreciate your point that secrets lead to fear and manipulation. When people start hiding information, it leads to opaqueness and make people unaware about situations. And it leads to fear. When leaders mask authenticity, they start creating suffocating environment. People might respect them by the virtue of position, but in fact they do not respect from the heart. So, it is important to understand the source of respect- out of fear or out of inspiration.
Many organisational leaders make popular decisions. They try to please everyone. The reason is simple- they want to be popular. And when leaders seek popularity, it stops being leader. Leaders lead from heart with authenticity whether people like it or not.
Leaders make decisions which are best for the organisations. And it will automatically become best for the people. However, one element is crucial here- leadership intention behind the decision.
In a culture that supports success, there really are no unpopular decisions. This is because members of an organization who feel as though they are part of the process are committed to the overall vision. The unpopular feeling is only associated with decisions when people feel chided or threatened by those decisions. Therefore, the organizations that establish open lines of communication remove the perception of threat.
“It doesn’t matter what you do or say, if people don’t respect you. Being liked is nice; being respected essential.” Great post Dan. I see so much that we as leaders can learn from what you have here. Thank you!
This is where you have to know the big rock and the small rock. Big rock is production, small rock are principals. If you want respect, make sure you are standing on the small rock. If you can communicate the principal issues and relate your decision to that, then you will be respected, at least by most and certainly by all those that have critical rather than selfish capacities. Remember, the big rock’s shadow only lasts one period, but the small rock’s shadow can follow you everywhere forever.