Leaders in the workplace often struggle with gaining acceptance for ideas or solutions to problems. It does not matter if your ideas are brilliant if they are not accepted and implemented well. So what is a leader to do? Instead of jumping in to provide your ideas right away, try these three steps to gain acceptance for your solutions, without even having to say, “This is what we should do.”
Co-create instead of me-create.
Avoid directly offering the solution. Instead, involve others in the process and listen carefully to their suggestions and insights. By co-creating a solution, people are invested in the solution and outcome. As a result, accountability increases. You may be surprised to find that others offer up the same solution you would have. Because you involved others in the process, employees will not view the decision as a top-down decree. Instead, it was co-created with input from others and will therefore be better received.
Involve external individuals.
As an organizational insider, you are biased whether you realize it or not. Instead of just gathering internal perspectives, involve external people as well. These organizational outsiders will not be biased by the system and organizational culture that prevails within your company. Instead, an outside facilitator or coach can provide a divergent opinion and see things from a different perspective. If the external facilitator or coach is leading the think sessions and following up with people, he or she will be able to ensure people stay accountable to the process.
Avoid jumping to a decision too quickly.
Do not make a rash decision. Instead, give equal air time to all the ideas presented. Avoid quickly dismissing an option. Listen carefully to the idea, ask clarifying questions, and accept all of the answers offered in the room. By doing your due diligence, you will help foster a collaborative environment that will help you gain support from key stakeholders.
You do not have to independently develop all of the solutions for your organization. Under the right conditions and by implementing the three steps outlined above, you can foster a work environment that invites others into the decision-making process. This will allow a plethora of ideas and viewpoints to be shared.