How many times have you received direction you don’t agree with? Perhaps your leaders haven’t considered the risks of their decision or maybe they haven’t appropriately planned for their course of action. Or, perhaps your experience tells you there’s a better way. Whatever the situation, it’s stressful when you must follow orders you don’t believe in.

Ben Brearley, a manager, coach and consultant, admits that it’s hard work to follow a direction and lead a team doing something you don’t buy into. If you find yourself in this situation, read on. We share Brearley’s guidance on what to do when you disagree with a directive in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Influence the direction given. According to Brearley, the first thing to try is to influence your leaders regarding the direction given. Start by raising your concerns and any risks that you believe may not have been considered. Doing this is best when you think about the “What’s in it for me?” for your manager. Frame the issues in a way that they care about and you’re more likely to make an impact.

Get more information and look for the silver lining. When you disagree with a directive, it can be easy to become angry and resentful. Brearley recommends asking for more information and looking hard for any benefits associated with the direction given. This will provide some positive aspects to communicate to your team, even if you disagree with parts of the direction.

Disagree and disobey. Brearley warns that this one is the nuclear option. You might choose to put your job on the line and say you won’t do what has been directed. This is usually the option of last resort, when you realize that following orders would cause you to lose respect and credibility as a leader. Or, you might choose this option when you have been directed to do something unethical, illegal or immoral. Leaders who have nothing to lose or have reached the end of their patience may choose this one.

Know your limits. If you’re in a position where you’re being forced to go in one direction, when you think there is a better way, it’s time to take stock. What are your boundaries? When does it stop being acceptable? When you and your manager are not aligned in the best way to do things, is this okay? Or does it happen far too often? Brearley says that maybe your disagreements are about minor matters. Or perhaps they are bigger than that. Only you can make that call.

Don’t fall into the resilience trap. Someone might tell you that you need to be more resilient. In other words, you just need to put up with it. However, Brearley asserts that resilience is a buzzword that we use far too often. Instead of asking people to be more resilient, we should be working to create better workplace conditions that help people thrive, without burning them out.

When senior management rolls out a directive you don’t believe in, consider how you respond. Will you try to shift the direction or find something positive to relay to your team? Or will you decide that you just don’t believe in the path they’ve laid out? To determine your response, it’s important to understand your leadership motivation. Save yourself some mental fatigue and stress by reviewing the points above.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Ben Brearley is a leader, manager, MBA, coach and consultant passionate about developing thoughtful and effective leaders, with a focus on improving time management, building leader self-confidence and understanding what motivates team members.