When you are making a proposal for a plan or an idea to your team, where do you lose your audience? If you encounter resistance during the presentation, then something has gone wrong somewhere. We are not talking about questions being asked but a sterner opposition. Here are four tips for addressing the concerns of your team while maintaining respect for everyone.

A Personal Affront

Business is business and should never get personal. When objections are raised about ideas (as you have probably done a time or two), it concerns the team and the company overall. As the generator of this idea, it is your baby. At first, you will want to consider any resistance as an attack on you. After all, you believe that your idea is perfect as you have laid it out.

Everyone desires respect. When negotiating business, work from a position of respect for all parties involved. Respect is in danger when we take things personally instead of professionally. If you believe that you are being challenged instead of your idea, the result is a reciprocating defensive position towards the speaker. In that type of atmosphere, nothing will be accomplished.

Four Tips for Maintaining Respect when Addressing Concerns

  1. Understand the concern – Take the time to listen reflectively to ensure that you understand what is being said to you. Focus on gaining the understanding needed to address the concern effectively.
  2. Discuss the concern and not the person – When you make this personal, it becomes you against them. This can polarize the discussion. Your attack becomes “my way or the highway” and all useful discussion ceases. Greater resistance will be encountered. View the concern on its merits and not the character of the person.
  3. Look for creative solutions – Adopt a problem-solving mindset. Begin to see their issue as an opportunity to flex the creative brain muscles. Showing your willingness to work together invites the others in the group to do the same.
  4. Offer additional information if needed – When concerns are raised, resist the tendency to throw more facts and figures at them. They don’t want you to drill more data into their heads. They want an acknowledgment of their issues and a response. This is the time to answer questions. Only provide additional information when it will help to clear up any further misunderstandings.

Sometimes it is necessary to implement new practices without the consensus of the whole group. Make sure that those team members are aware that they are being informed of a change and not asked for an opinion. You walk a fine line when you don’t clarify this point but elicit concerns that you don’t intend to act on.

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