How to Recognize When You’re Being Too Stubborn

  • Are your employees scared or apathetic about sharing ideas?
  • Do they simply tell you what you want to hear?
  • Are your ideas the only good ones?
  • Do you cling to your decisions, even when they are clearly wrong?
  • Do you allow your frustrations with others to get in the way of being effective?

Stubbornness is simply being attached to your point of view and unwilling to entertain other alternatives. Good leadership is about being clear, moving forward, and at times being flexible. Yet, too much flexibility makes you a poor leader, especially when it takes you off track from fulfilling your goals.

No one likes to be wrong. Your team will get frustrated, and at times angry, when you are being stubborn and insist your way is the only right one. Your fears, insecurities and other control issues will limit your ability to create a profitable company with great people.

Three keys to being less stubborn – and becoming a more effective leader

Openness. Allowing others the opportunity to share ideas and recommendations without fear of being told they are wrong is important. No one person has all the answers. No one person knows all the right questions to ask. No one person is right all the time. Working together collaboratively will open up strategic opportunities and resourceful ways to be successful.

A vice president was a terrible boss and always seemed to know what was best. In his arrogance, he would go through the motions of soliciting others’ ideas. Then, he would disregard any idea that didn’t support what he had already decided to do. Because he was afraid of losing his job, he was very controlling and refused to listen to others’ input. He was fired a few months later.

Confidence. Some falsely believe that being confident and stubborn are the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Confidence is not insisting that your way is the only way. Confidence is being open to hearing new ideas, while working with and through others to determine workability and ROI. Remember, there are 100’s of different ways to wash dishes, manage a profitable company and achieve great results. Have the confidence in yourself and listen to your team.

One business owner wasn’t open to others’ ideas. She insisted that her way was the right one due to her fear of failure. She would fire anyone that disagreed or failed to do it her way. The problem was she had very high turnover and was continually looking for the “right” employees. She never found them and had to close down her business.

Clarity. It’s important to stay focused on your plan and the actions that will support fulfilling it. This is where perseverance (often confused with stubbornness) pays off. When we are not clear, too often our employees will create mischief. The problem occurs when we fail to address their unwillingness or inability to take focused action. It’s important for both leaders and their employees to learn how to trust themselves and each other. Don’t be afraid to get the coaching and training required.

Years ago I had a boss who wasn’t open to anything new. His ideas often were reactive. Proactive ideas were normally considered time consuming and an unnecessary expense. When I approached him with a plan to help employees feel comfortable about their pension benefits, due to the pension plan being terminated, he thought it was a stupid and time-consuming idea. He was right about it being time-consuming. However, a well-designed communication process is rarely stupid. In this case, it helped employees feel less fearful about their future pensions. Interestingly, years later, he showed me a system he thought was brilliant. I smiled and reminded him that it had been my idea, and the work I had done!

Your stubbornness can be transformed into an effective leadership trait. Trust yourself and learn how to work with and through others for amazing results! Contact a coach today!

Jeannette Seibly is laser sharp at identifying the leverage points that will take a business and its team to the next level of performance and success. Her unique combination of strategic and tactical people and business experiences includes being execution-oriented, customer-focused and business results-focused. She has guided the creation of three millionaires and countless million-dollar results for companies and not-for-profits. She is an innovator who loves producing amazing results with and through others, on time and within budget, as a team.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2015


Leave a Comment