As a leader, how do you set direction for your staff?
Persuading people to believe in your ideas or the direction you set is a critical leadership skill. But too many leaders don't know how. Here are three things to try next time you need to gain consensus or set direction:
- Don't make the hard sell. Setting out a strong position at the start gives potential opponents something to fight. It's better to present your position with reserve, so you can adjust it if needed. You might find that input from others will actually improve your ideas.
- Don't resist compromise. Compromise is not surrender. People want to see that you are flexible enough to respond to their concerns and incorporate their perspectives. And they might well be introducing thinking that you hadn't even considered.
- Don't assume it's a one-shot deal. Bringing people on board is a process. You'll rarely arrive at where you want to be on the first try. Listen, test your position, and then refine it based on both the group's input and initial efforts.
Adapted from Guide to Managing Up and Across (HBR OnPoint Collection).