February… I must convince our production teams in charge of our three manufacturing facilities to proceed with a change of an important raw material from another supplier and this change must occur as soon as possible, even though it is our “high season”… I have worked hard at getting this deal and my President is thrilled by the financial saving impact this new deal will bring to the company; so, I said to myself, it will be easy to convince our three teams.
I organize a meeting with those three teams and make the best presentation to influence their approval of this change of supplier as soon as possible. Project is welcome but (yes, there is a “but”) the three teams are unanimous about doing this change in the slow season which is 10 months later and pushing by that long the hefty savings coming with my proposed change.
What would you do if you were me?
Let’s keep in mind that leadership could be by default or by choice. If I opt for a leadership by default, I impose my idea on these teams using my authority, thus resulting in negative reactions and low engagement. If I choose to create value by aligning forces, leadership by choice, I show empathy by listening to each person’s point of view, then I ask them to think as one team effort to propose one consented idea and, finally, I ask them what it would take for them to introduce this change within the next two months.
You see, leading in a positive way, I made sure each team was recognized for their valued contribution, I put my trust in them to come up with the best solution. The same applies to negotiation – keep your goal in mind, do not judge or interpret the others’ comments and have empathy, then when you too have gain their empathy, bring back your goal to the table to have it accepted.