Opening with a negative may be a positive

All of us have heard negative comments when a new initiative comes our way. We are good at coming up with reasons for avoiding new work. It’s part of human nature. So if this is true, then why not address the concerns in the room at the outset?

Let your people vent their feelings first before giving them a new assignment. It is good to confront the issues in the room -- head on.

Once the explaining is done – by the manager, the employees or both -- it will fall to the manager to make things happen by handing out assignments. Before doing so, however, it would be wise to ask employees what they can stop doing so they have time to focus on the new project.

Asking employees to give up work to take on other work is not novel. Such an approach is rooted in lean thinking, where you pare away tasks that have no added value. Eliminating them frees up employees to do more without adding to their workload.

One final note. Be positive. Position the new project as an opportunity.

So next time your team is tasked with a major undertaking, consider opening on a negative (allowing people to vent) as a means to getting to the positive (a fully engaged team).

John Baldoni is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2017, Trust Across America named him a Top Thought Leader in Trust for the fourth consecutive year. Global Gurus ranked John No. 22 on its list of top 30 global experts, a list he has been on since 2007. In 2014, Inc.com named John to its list of top 50 leadership experts. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including his newest, “MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership.”

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