By Tom Davidson
As a leader and a manager, you will need to make difficult decisions, students of leadership have no shortage of examples to study from the U.S. Government these days, most of them bad, and this week has been no exception.
Students of leadership have no shortage of examples to study from the U.S. Government these days, most of them bad, and this week has been no exception.
Today, we’ll look at how the president is attempting to get support for what he wants to do, which is bomb Syria as punishment for using chemical weapons. In some ways, it’s a classic dilemma of how everyday leaders need to be deft in how they mobilize support for their ideas. It’s also a demonstration of epic errors in how not to build consensus and support.
What not to do
Rich Lucia, sales expert, author and speaker, has developed a powerful concept for taking more effective action in sales, life and leadership. It’s called the 180 Rule™. In his workshops, Lucia affects what people do by affecting how they think about problems and challenges.
Lucia explains that it’s much easier for people to identify what not to do than what to do. As a result, his methodology produces more concrete and compelling ideas about what to do even better and smarter. Instead of asking, “What should we do to achieve a goal or improve a process?” we should start asking, “What should we definitely not do to get what we want?”
How not to gain support for your decisions
As a leader and a manager, you will need to make difficult decisions, maybe not the life-or-death variety on the president’s plate but important ones in people’s lives nonetheless, like the following:
As a new manager, you will learn that while you must make some unilateral decisions, how well they are executed depends largely upon how much support you generate before, during and after your decisions. Even CEOs and presidents forget this principle from time to time.
The 180 Rule™ in action
Applying the 180-Rule™ to the idea of gaining support, here is a list of what you should definitely not do if you want to gain support for your idea or decision:
– Make a habit out of publicly blaming, belittling and berating your constituents for having no common sense or sense of decency
– Blatantly work around your stakeholders until you are absolutely forced to deal with them
– Tell them you don’t need them to take the action you want to take, that you have all the authority you need to proceed without them
– Build a one-sided case for your idea that helps ensure your constituents will be seen as unpatriotic and insensitive if they don’t support you
– Make it clear that if they don’t cooperate, the blame will fall on them, not you
If the president has difficulty mobilizing support from the U.S. Congress now, these are the reasons. Taking a lesson from this example and Rich Lucia’s 180 Rule™, here is what you should do to mobilize support, mostly the opposite of the above:
* Treat your associates and stakeholders with the utmost respect, even when they disagree with you
* Involve your constituents early in the decision making process, especially on high-stakes matters and issues that they will have to execute
* Recognize that you cannot operate as a lone ranger for long, that your results as a leader depend on the voluntary effort of others
* Promote an open dialogue that surfaces and respects all perspectives, making sure that stakeholders are (and feel) heard
* Take responsibility for your decisions and impacts
What have you learned about consensus building by watching the campaign for support on bombing Syria, and how might you apply the 180 Rule™ to solve problems in your workplace?