There may be several situations in an organization when a manager has to take tough decisions and actions. When this happens, managers often find it difficult to effectively communicate with their team members and convey the reasons behind their decisions.
Some common and standard responses in such situations are: “it is the Management’s decision” or “it is the Boss’ decision” or “it is out of my hands”.
There are usually two reasons for such responses: either to avoid answering questions from their team members or to shift the responsibility for the decision to someone else. But, this can be interpreted as the signs of a weak leader. And after a couple of such responses to decisions, your own team members are likely to think of you as someone who does not have the authority or the ability to take decisions. And you might end up losing their respect as their team leader.
A strong leader should own up the responsibility for actions being taken, irrespective of whether it is based on an organizational decision or their own.
How can a leader develop this capability?
Build strong relationships with your team – When they know that there is an organizational reason for making tough decisions, they will be able to empathize with you
Remember to appreciate the team when they do things right and acknowledge hard work.
Seek support from your own manager – If you find it difficult to communicate, get help (coaching or training) from your manager on how to handle such situations.
Be honest – Let your team members know the true reasons behind tough decisions (without breaking confidentiality).
Seek the team’s support to overcome the tough situation they are in. Be open and approachable but assertive at the same time. Work alongside your team to get through the situation.
Blaming your manager is similar to leaving an escape route for yourself. However, it will not take you forward as a leader.