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Upset the Right People With Your Decisions
When leaders make decisions, they upset at least a small set of colleagues who would have preferred a different outcome or benefit from a competing choice. For some colleagues on some decisions, they respond strongly and negatively because the consequences of the decision erode their power or influence.
The best leaders get ahead of this distress and ensure a sound decision when they live by a simple rule. Since all decisions disturb someone, it is important to judge the quality of the decision by upsetting the right people. In other words, if the decision is first-rate, it should bother the right people most. These are colleagues who have amassed too much power and influence by maintaining the status quo. If these coworkers don’t squawk and claim discomfort, perhaps the decision rests on shaky ground.
Thinking through who benefits and who loses from any major decision is not a difficult task. While reactions to a decision should not be allowed to taint the best call, before the decision is final good leaders aim their attention on the noise the choice will likely inspire.
Upsetting colleagues on purpose is not the idea or the goal. But reliably predicting who will be unsettled by the decision should be patently obvious. A leader who can’t make this prediction likely doesn’t understand the intended and unintended consequences of the decision and is not yet ready to make it. Be sure to upset the right people with your decisions. It’s a good sign you’ve made a great call.