17 August 2018

Actioning a decision you don’t agree with

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Whether you’re an executive assistant or a middle manager, one of the greatest frustrations is carrying out decisions that conflict directly with your opinions- perhaps even morals.

 You will likely find yourself performing the task and muttering bitterly to yourself, as well as those around you, that you’re not happy but you have to do it. Your attitude is passed on to the people around you and quickly creates an environment of resentment.

But you care about the future of your company. Your job, after all, is to help the organisation succeed which undermining the decision will do little to achieve.

The first question you ask should be to yourself: Do you trust the leadership of the organisation you work for? If you find yourself having a long mental pause it may be time to look for new opportunities elsewhere.

Otherwise you may need to consider your own stubbornness. Are you fixated on your own beliefs? Are you reluctant to consider alternatives to your own personal beliefs?

It’s logical any decision being made at an executive or board level has gone through rigorous assessment, consideration and discussion. That being said, if you see an issue which conflicts with your legal and ethical responsibilities, then you have a duty to voice your concern and continue voicing this until it is resolved.

The method of delivering the news to your team is important. Michelle Kankousy on Insperity suggests it could sound like, “I know this was a difficult decision for them. Several options were discussed over many weeks and they decided this was best for the longevity of the company.”

If your direct reports already know you disagree, it’s okay to say, “This isn’t the choice I would have made, but let’s try to implement this change to the best of our abilities. We can always suggest adjustments that will make this work better than we think right now.”

It’s in your best interests to be clear and reasonable after the decision has been made by not continually provoking the board or acting with hostility to those you disagree with.

Finally, remember there a few decisions which cannot be reversed. If the decision proves to have a negative effect on the company amendments can be made- with the added pleasure of a quiet “I told you so.”

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Written by: Claire Dowler

Claire is the manager of Akolade’s government and digital portfolio. She’s passionate about emerging digital trends, particularly in the public sector. In her spare time she enjoys picking up heavy things and putting them back down again and animals are her favourite kind of people. 

Follow me on LinkedIn for information regarding future Akolade events as well as future blog posts @ Claire Dowler

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