The critical assets a leader needs is the belief and confidence in his/her ideas and commitment to see them through. There are a two caveats to this statement. One, you must really believe what you are doing is truly the best for all involved. Your decisions are not based solely on your need for survival, but rather based on what’s best for the team. Two, you are willing to take responsibility for the outcomes.
In today’s geopolitical situation, this scenario is playing out before our very eyes with President Bush pushing for action on Iraq in the face of strong opposition from people throughout the world. This scenario also plays out every time an organization implements a new process.
At the beginning of a new process, there is resistance to change. People are going to be asked to move beyond their comfort zones and take a risk. They are going to be asked to go down the road towards an end result they are not yet sure of. The question is why should they?
How do you react when you as a leader are faced with this kind of resistance? Do you become defensive? Or do you respond with conviction in what you believe and act with confidence that your solution will bring positive results to the people who depend on you?
If is very normal for people to resist change or ideas that include risk. Expect that to happen and do not try and stifle their responses. Some people need to vent their feelings before they will agree to go along.
Whatever you do, remember one thing. The moment you back off and let the criticism affect your confidence, then no one will put their neck on the line and follow you down the road. People will only go forward when they believe in the person leading the way. If you lack confidence, there won’t be many people walking behind you. This also goes for your customers.