Leaders give us a direction, a path to follow, a hope to pull us forward, and goals to meet. Leadership is at the very core of humanity.
But then, there are good leaders and there are bad leaders. There is also accidental leadership. No matter which camp you belong to right now, there’s one thing you can’t escape from: resistance.
Resistance to your leadership is an emotional response. Maybe to a new environment, new policies, and anything else that demands moving from the comfort zone. Before you donned your leadership role, you may have reacted the same way.
Resistance is common. It’s also necessary, predictable and natural as Jim Murray, CEO of Optimal Solutions International, wrote for Leader Values. Resistance should be expected. As a leader, however, you have to take accountability for results. You need to stay the course. So how do you lead without being questioned? How do you lead without resistance?
Hit the emotions
While resistance itself is an emotional response, most top leaders also hit us at an emotional level. According to Meghan M. Biro of Forbes.com, leaders have
“…an ability to reach people that transcends the intellectual and rational.”
She also states that in addition to working with emotions, leadership also calls for continuous learning, contextualizing decisions depending on situations, being honest, taking accountability, being kind, respecting others, and mastering the art of “letting go.”
Show and tell
Another way to avoid resistance is to demonstrate that you could do the job if you had to – no matter what the job entails. Advice such as, “Walk the walk. Talk the talk,” comes into play here.
When you roll up your sleeves and lead by example, it diffuses the resistance. Who can complain when you are willing to bare your chest to gunfire?
Master the art of collaboration
We define delegation as: give them work to do. Meanwhile, we define collaboration as: give them work to do, work with them, work together, do whatever it takes, get things done.
Some management literature would make you believe that if you can delegate and supervise, you’ll become a better manager. However, great leaders are masters of collaboration, not delegation. Collaboration demands a lot more than mere delegation, but the long-term results are well worth the extra effort.
Leadership is nothing without resistance. Just like rejections in life make us all stronger, resistance makes leaders better.
What do you do when you face resistance? Give us some more tips.