Musthafa Ebadi
Keys to rejecting an idea without demotivating!
by Musthafa Ebadi on August 26th, 2014

If you believe that you are a leader then you believe that the best ideas always don’t come from you but rather from your people. As a leader your job is to help those ideas come to fruition.

One of the things that sets today’s leaders apart from the old school management is that we always encourage our people to think different and come up with creative ideas. Infact I have heard “think different” & “creative” from managers many times in the last few years that at times I have to pause to reflect if its real or just a cliché.

You also know that when you encourage people to come up with ideas you will get dozens of them in a week and sometime from the same person. Do you implement it all?

Realistically you couldn’t since every idea isn’t a good idea.  In fact in my experience for every 10 ideas pitched 3 – 4 are implemented. That means as leaders we say no 60 – 70 percent of the time.

What happens if you keep saying no to ideas? Your people will get dejected, perhaps demotivated. Heck if 60 – 70% of YOUR ideas were rejected do you think you will continue to come up with new ideas?   

The key to ensure your people’s ability to come up with ideas aren’t inhibited is to show respect.

When someone comes up with an idea and its not a good one you can brush them, tell them its not a good idea, or worse laugh at the idea – thus at them. Or you could take time to listen to what they are proposing, ask few questions, and get yourself engaged. By doing so you are showing them respect, dignity, and emphasizing that you appreciate them and their ability to think outside the box.

Now explain to them why the idea cannot be implemented, ensure they understand, and you get agreement. If they push back don’t use your “power” to say no but rather continue to take time and reason with them. Once you have agreement commend them for the idea and thinking differently.

Finally challenge them (very carefully) to refine the idea (or their thinking) to come up with a better one.

Remember that your job as a leader to ensure that your people consistently feel engaged, valued, and respected. And if they do they while they might get dejected their idea wasn’t implemented they will go and try to come up with a better idea!

It’s a delicate act of balancing what is a good idea to implement with keeping your team motivated to think creative. Make sure you handle it with care.

Feel free to agree, disagree, or share your perspective using the comment section of this post.
Thanks for reading

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