Sometimes as leaders we are frustrated with a lack of cooperation in getting done what we think is important. It almost always has more to do with our approach than their reluctance. I have spent a lifetime having one-on-one conversations with influencers, patiently explaining what it takes to get from here to there. After everything is said and done, when taking the following steps, lack of cooperation and support is the exception.
Here are the steps that have almost always worked for me:
1. Have the discussion where there are no time pressures and in private. Make an appointment, which adds value and importance to the discussion.
2. Make certain there is a sincere spirit of compassion for the individual, especially if they have been in opposition. Compassion cannot be faked.
They will see through insincerity no matter how good an actor we might be. Compassion for them needs to be more important than whatever we want to get accomplished.
3. Ask questions. Seek first to clearly understand them and where they are coming from. Listen carefully with an open spirit.
4. Always maintain a tone of utmost respect and appreciation.
5. Be thoroughly prepared with a clear rationale. It may be necessary to discuss the plan with a wise and objective influencer beforehand. Seek feedback regarding any loopholes in the presentation.
6. Speak with candour and clarity. Do not be fuzzy and reluctant. The goal should be with clearly understood expectations, mutually agreed upon.
7. Be certain to follow up several times subsequently. It is possible that the discussion might be received as a rejection in spite of a positive initial response. Several positive deposits will need to be made in case there has been a withdrawal.
When we do this, everyone wins and grows. So often we expect the people we lead to know our thoughts. This is unreasonable, considering we have spent years being exposed to information, teaching, education, reading, conferences, and peer discussions of which they have not been privy. This approach almost always brings a rewarding result. Our confidence is developed so these encounters will be without fear, in spite of the most severe opposition or difficult people.