I've had countless conversations with leaders in business and the non-profit world who can't understand why their staff members and board are 'so negative,' 'complain all the time,' or 'are always finding fault with every decision I make.' When I probe a little, I almost always find the leader has announced decisions without taking the time to explain the idea to influencers to get them on board.
When key leaders are blindsided, they use their influence to push back instead of supporting the new direction. And the people they influence look to them for cues about how to respond, so complaints ripple through the organization.
It's not enough to just inform influencers of your decisions – they need to be included in the process of decision-making. Here's the truth: If you don't even tell them before you make an announcement, you can expect major blowback. IF you tell them but don't engage them in the deliberations, they may grudgingly accept your decision, but they won't be cheerleaders. But before you make an announcement, if you take the time to meet with them, share your heart, listen to their input, and make adjustments based on their wisdom, they'll almost certainly have your back.
If this sounds like 'it takes too much time,' don't kid yourself. Putting out fires takes much more time, and worse, the drama reduces their respect for you.
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