People Buy Into a Leader First

leadership Dec 21, 2022

Would you agree that one significant responsibility as a leader is implementing change? Gartner Inc. reports that in 2023 change management for businesses is projected to be 5x greater. Long gone are the authoritarian leadership tactics of a "do as I say" mentality because those throughout the organization want to contribute to the discovery and implementation process. How are leaders thriving in this ever-changing environment? Successful leaders do the groundwork of gaining buy-in before expecting people to invest time and effort in supporting a leader's vision. As John C. Maxwell says, "People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision."

When I was in my twenties, I wanted a manager position. There was a skill test during the application process, and I will never forget one of the questions. "There is a new procedure that needs to be implemented. How do you get your staff to adapt to the new procedure?"

  1. A) Give them an instructional booklet
  2. B) Let them figure it out on their own (sink or swim)
  3. C) Explain to your employees the importance of why they need to adapt
  4. D) None of the above

While C might be the best answer, and quite honestly, it probably was the answer for an entry-level management position, the answer is D. Whether it's a new procedure, new product, new rule, etc., one thing that needs to happen first. Your employees need to trust and respect you, know you value their opinions, know you understand and appreciate their daily contributions, and are interested in their personal growth. Next, they need to know that you buy into the new procedure.  

Invest the needed time to understand how this new procedure will impact your team. It is easy to decide on a destination, but it takes a leader to plan the trip. Communicating to your team the new procedure and the potential changes you see needed to incorporate the new process will start a group discussion. Understanding the possible differences shows you know what your team does. Be careful and understand that you are communicating "potential" changes you see. The final decisions need to be those you and your team decide.

Ask your team questions to hear their ideas and concerns about implementing the new procedure. It is hard for a leader to listen to team members list their problems with change for fear of delaying progress. List their objections and decide with the team how to overcome them. Perhaps, resolving the high risks issues on the list before implementation will save time and money. 

I encourage you to make a list of your team and rate them on a scale from 1-10 (1 being they would not follow you to 10 they would follow you anywhere). If your results are low, make it your top priority to develop a plan utilizing the Leadership Tips for gaining buy-in. Leadership Tips

If you struggle with communicating with your team by tailoring your message to their understanding, A DISC evaluation would be valuable to you and your team. Check out the options and see what works best.