5Common Questions and Resistance to One On Ones

The Most Common Forms of One-On-One Pushback

If an initiative is important to you, it's worth thinking through the possible rejoinders and being prepared to address them. If you're not willing to verbally joust through some turbulence when you introduce a new idea, it's probably not worth doing.

First, let's be clear about pushback in general. Don't ever be surprised by it. Just because you think what you're going to try is a good idea doesn't mean that your directs will go along with it. Quite the contrary: when you change how you manage, then fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about the change are always part of the response. Don't assume it's just you; it happens to all of us.

The fact is, your directs don't respond precisely to you but, rather, to their perception of you. When you look in the mirror, you see the trustworthy, hardworking, well-intentioned you. You see a nice person. But, unfortunately, your directs do not see you as a nice person. They see you as their boss. This doesn't mean you are not a nice person. Of course you are. It just means that your directs don't see you that way. They see you first as their boss, who is also a nice person. Everything you do is seen through the lens of your role power and a reasonable fear of what that power could mean for them, their career, and their family. The fact that you would never do any of the things they worry you might do (because a previous boss actually did them) is ...

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