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Leadership is Messy: 4 Ways to Build Strong Relationships When Making Tough Decisions

Source | LinkedIn | Tony Gambill, SPHR | Principal Consultant

Successful leadership requires that leaders achieve results and establish strong relationships with their employees, peers, and customers. This is a complex challenge given the fact that leaders will need to make decisions and take actions that will have a negative impact on one or more of these key relationships. A person does not have to be in a leadership role very long before they are confronted with the need to push an aggressive timeline, implement a last-minute change in direction, restructure the organization, say no to a desired promotion, provide negative feedback, give a lower than expected salary increase, or lay off employees. These are just a few of the types of situations where leaders must make tough decisions that serve the greater organizational good and also have a negative (perceived or real) impact on others. This is the double bind that all leaders must address. 

Adding to this leadership challenge is that most employees are promoted into leadership positions because they have distinguished themselves from their peers by demonstrating advanced abilities in problem-solving and getting things done. This is one of the primary reasons why getting results and solving problems tend to be the most developed skill-sets for new leaders. We have all either witnessed or been directly impacted by the familiar story of the strong performer with great technical skills that gets promoted to a leadership position and struggles because they haven’t yet developed their ability to succeed with the relational aspects that are needed to effectively lead.

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