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From Resistant Colleagues To Rabid Supporters


How to Flip Resistant Colleagues into Rabid Supporters

There’s a theme that comes up a bunch in EXCO, our membership section of CSuite Accelerator.

My clients complain that their great ideas and approaches frequently get stalled or thwarted by difficult people who hold up their efforts.  My clients will describe these colleagues as “incompetent” or just driving their own personal agendas.  And so – while these colleagues present themselves as open – they’re really impossible to please.

Look, to be sure, others might have their own agendas.  And they might look out for their own interests. And, some of them even believe it’s all a zero-sum game – that any success for you means failure for them.  So they’ll oppose your great idea.

And, for you, this can be pretty awful.  The fact that your approach may stall before coming to fruition means no big win, no visibility, no promotability. Not good.

But don’t we all have our own agenda? And if they were truly shifty or inept, would they have been brought into their senior role in the first place? Is the hiring manager who recruited them so unsophisticated?


Why They Resist
I have an alternative explanation for their resistance: They just might not trust you.

And because they don’t trust you they don’t give you the benefit of the doubt. They suspect you and your motives … maybe, the same way you suspect them and theirs.

What if you could change that?  What if there were key behaviors you could undertake that would get work colleagues to be predisposed to your ideas as soon as you walked into the meeting?

Key Behaviors to Predispose Colleagues to Your Ideas
Key Behavior #1. Be transparent.

  • Talk about your objectives, what you’re trying to accomplish
  • Talk about your interests – the reasons behind your objectives
  • Acknowledge the gaps in your reasoning and invite them to help you round out your thinking. Nothing on your part could demonstrate transparency better than that.

Key Behavior #2. Be interested.

  • I mean truly interested. Listening isn’t about politely waiting your turn to speak; it’s about really hearing and taking in your colleagues’ objectives and interests.

Key Behavior #3. Seek the win-win.

  • Having demonstrated your interest and listened to them, make sure there is something in your proposed approach that helps them. Do this and will they look forward to collaborating with you every chance they get.

Key Behavior #4. Be plainspoken.

  • Explain your thinking in the simplest, most straightforward terms. Dispense with the technical and business jargon so you don’t come off slick.

Key Behavior #5. Be consistent .

  • Patiently build your track record for this kind of trust. Particularly, if you’re starting out with your emotional bank account (as Steven Covey would call it) in the red.

Consider this …
So, here’s my question to you:
What if you didn’t have to contend with difficult people resisting you and your initiatives at work?  What if they supported you, instead?

What would that be like? What would be the difference in your productivity level? What would be the difference in your capacity to achieve your objectives? What would be the difference in your experience of your own work, just in terms of the shear joy of it?

And what if it was like that all the time, that is, that you so rarely encountered resistors, you forgot it was ever an issue … what would that be like?

Observe the 5 key behaviors and you’ll find out.

So what I want to know is, in light of what we discussed today, what are you going to do to get difficult people on your side? Leave me a comment.

I hope you’ve found this useful. If you like it, share it with your colleagues or someone else you believe might benefit.

If you want to learn more, take our “C-Suite Roadblock Audit,” which will help you identify mistakes you might be making right now that could be hurting your C-Suite prospects. You can also download our “Team Optimizer Checklist” to help get your direct reports aligned.

Alternatively, if you’d like to have a brief complimentary call with me feel free to reach out and get on my calendar.

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