Fight the Good Fight with Leverage

Leverage is required in many situations to win a good business fight. In some cases, you may automatically have leverage due to your position, title or power to make the ultimate decision. However, you need to be responsible about how and when you use this leverage; future repercussions are inevitable. As an employee, customer or vendor, you need others to help you leverage a win-win outcome. There are cost vs. benefit ratios that need to be considered for the company, others and your own career. Playing the ostrich and hoping the issue will go away rarely works well for everyone involved.

You may win this fight. But lose the war. Even though we don’t have crystal balls to look into the future, talk with a trusted colleague to weigh the pro and con of possible outcomes, now and for the future. If this is a policy or legal issue, talk with human resources director or vice president. If it relates to a customer or vendor, set up a meeting with your boss and the person in charge of these relationships. Be clear as to the purpose and desired outcome. Be more committed to resolving the issue than forcing your own ideas as the only solutions.

It’s not about you. It’s often hard to set aside your own ego in these situations. Particularly, if the issue is you vs. your boss. This will require you to think beyond the current upset or violation of your trust. When the issue involves your client, employee or vendor, ask them what they believe is the needed resolution to keep a positive business relationship. Steamrolling everyone to agree with your decisions or opinions will only create a backlash for you in the near future, particularly, if you are wrong or lied about the facts.

Share the challenge selectively. Share your challenge confidentially only with someone who can help you and is in a position to do so. Follow their advice, even if it doesn’t seem like it will work and stay in communication during and after the resolution. The lone-ranger approach and reliance upon your own mental monologue will limit your future in the company. The worst practice for a business professional to engage in is to talk with everyone else! That creates liability for you professionally and financially. Create a learning opportunity from the situation and look with your coach (or business mentor) to see what you need to do in the future to prevent these types of issues from occurring.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2011

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