How easy is it for you to make up your mind on something? If you are like most of us, you can generally make a decision fairly fast; however, there will always be those times that you really have to spend some time thinking about something before you can decide how you want to handle it. Once you’ve made up your mind, do you generally stick with your decision? Depending on what kinds of outside pressures you are dealing with, this can be difficult to do. Just exactly how can a manager take a position and then actually stick with it?
The Power Of Taking A Stand
Taking a stand is a key responsibility of managers. It means that you need to make big decisions, set clear priorities, give definitive directions — and then stick to it – even when it turns out to not be a popular decision. When you avoid taking a stand, your team can get confused and will be left wondering what matters, what to do, and why. Managers who are highly collaborative in nature may shy away from taking a stand, fearing it may come across as being dictatorial, make them unpopular, or lead their team down the wrong path. Leaders who have no problems taking charge in the extreme may neglect to consider how their team will be affected when they take a stand.
So just exactly how are we supposed to go about doing this “taking a stand” issue? It turns out that the answer is to effectively take a stand and then maintain connections with both your people and yourself. Doing both is actually a more caring approach to leadership. You have the ability to commit to what matters most and you do what is needed as a manager, while being open and transparent in ways that support healthy relationships with the members of your team.
Questions To Answer Before Taking A Stand
When we are preparing to take a stand on a given issue, we need to start things off by asking ourselves some important questions. The first question is what does the idea of taking a stand bring up for you? If you were going to take a stand on just one thing and make it a non-negotiable, what would that one thing be? When you do take a stand, how could you express it in a way that increases trust and respect with your team? The next thing that you need to do is to take a moment and look inward. When deciding whether to take a stand, you have to first calm yourself and then check in with yourself to make sure that it’s aligned with what you truly believe is best for your team, and that it feels authentic to you.
As a part of the taking a stand process, you are going to have to choose the stories you invent. Let yourself imagine how the members of your team will react when you take a particular stand, including your worst fears. Then gain some altitude and allow yourself to call those imaginings what they are — your stories. Now take just a moment and imagine more positive outcomes. You need to allow for unhappiness. Remind yourself regularly that not everyone is going to be happy with every decision you make or every stand you take. It turns out that that’s okay.
Now comes the tough part. You need to have the hard conversations. When you do take an unpopular or controversial stand, acknowledge that you know some members of your team may not like it. And that it is what the organization is going to be doing. Be sure to convey that you considered other options, and why the stand you are taking is important. You need to remember why you are making this decision. Be explicit when describing the stand you’re taking and let team members know how it supports the organization’s vision. Help team members stay connected with the shared higher purpose, whether or not they agree with the particular stand you’re taking.
What All Of This Means For You
Making decisions is never an easy thing to do. Making tough decisions is even harder. We need to understand that when we make tough decisions, not everyone on our team is going to support it. That’s why managers have to get good at taking a position and then sticking with it. We just have to learn how to do this well.
Depending on what type of manager you are, sticking with a decision that you have made may be a hard thing for you to do. When you make a decision, you need to learn how to stick with it. You will need to ask yourself a series of questions before you make a key decision. How do you feel about the decision that you are preparing to make? When you look inwards, are you aligned with the decision that you are preparing to make? Create stories to understand how your decision is going to affect the members of your team. Take the time to convey your decision to your team so that everyone understand the thinking that went into it.
The good news for managers is that you can learn how to take a firm stand and stay deeply connected with both your team, and yourself. Doing so is a great way to earn respect, and a powerful demonstration of your caring in action. The next time you have to make a tough decision, take the time to think it through. Once you’ve made the decision, stick with it.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
For most managers, there is always too much work to be done. What that means is that we find ourselves multitasking trying to get all of the work that has been assigned to us completed. Although we may feel proud of what we are able to accomplish, are we really getting anything done? Does multitasking work for us? Learning how to balance multiple responsibilities is a key part of becoming a successful manager. We need to learn how to multitask well.