How to get people to accept a tough decision

How to get people to accept a tough decision

When faced with hard choices, leaders have a tendency to defer or delay. Use these steps to overcome uncertainty and reduce the fallout among people who are impacted

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August 03, 2018
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A hallmark of leadership is being the person who has to make the hard decisions. The hardest decisions have many bad options, a good dose of unknowns, and a number of stakeholders who stand to take a hit depending on the outcome of those decisions. Leaders can’t avoid these choices – but they can take steps to overcome uncertainty and reduce the fallout among those impacted. 

[ Why is adaptability the new power skill? Read our new report from HBR Analytic Services: Transformation Masters: The New Rules of CIO Leadership ]

In this Harvard Business Review article,  David Maxfield dives into the factors that make tough decisions so hard. In addition to uncertainty, he points to “value complexity” - the idea that even the best decisions will ultimately harm some people. These two features working together can cause leaders to “dither, delay, and defer,” when they should be acting, he writes. 

Read this article for Maxfield’s actionable tips for dealing with uncertainty and value complexity head-on. The results, Maxfield argues, “can help those affected by your decisions better accept the consequences.” 

Carla Rudder is a writer and content manager on The Enterprisers Project.

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