Good Leaders Embrace Resistance

When the boss tells you “this is how I think we should go,” resistance like “no, I think that’s the wrong way” is the last thing that that most bosses expect.  Most former managers that I know would probably clear their throat and say “excuse me, what did you say.”  It seems counter intuitive that a person subject to the authority of a manager would do something like that.  The counter intuitive part of that is that a good leader welcomes and encourages, resistance from people at any level.  Confident leaders know that embracing resistance can offer a number of things that can be helpful to him or herself and the organization.

Here are four things that embracing resistance can offer:

  1.  Information not seen or recognized
  2. A lesson that can help the manager be an even better leader
  3. A wake up to the realities/truth of the situation
  4. Open dialogue and learning


So Why is Resistance So Hard to Accept?

Most managers see resistance as a threat to their authority or at the very least, a threat to order and discipline (my old military days coming out).  What those managers are missing is the fact that the old command and control style of managing (note I did not say “leading”) has gone by the wayside.  Even with that, I still encounter more of that than one might expect.  So what makes embracing resistance difficult?  First of all, fear.  Where managers set themselves apart as leaders is that they recognize that fear is a part of anything and recognize that authority will only get you so far.  Those set apart as leaders demonstrate humility in accepting resistance and know that it is much more likely to endear the kind of relationships required for leadership success, but most of all will likely generate better outcomes.

Leaders know the value of resistance and how it can produce:

  • Better decision-making
  • Better relationships
  • Better collaboration
  • A better work environment
  • Confident leaders & employees

So my question to you is, what do you do when you encounter resistance?  Dealing with resistance and getting the most out of it really is pretty simple, just not always easy!  Until next time…

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