Abram Interstate Insurance Services, Inc., CMGA

Helping Independent Insurance Agents Since 1996

Tips for Managers: 3 ways to talk about your decisions to employees

Published on June 8, 2017

insurance agent business tips

Remember when you were a kid and you would whine to your parents, “But, WHY?” as you bemoaned one of their decisions or orders? And remember those dreaded words that would follow? Because. I. Said. So.

Now you have people working under you and as you make tough decisions or changes, you hear yourself breathing those same infuriating words, not eager, or maybe able to explain your decisions. You don’t want your employees to be begrudging, and you don’t want their concerns to go unnoticed, but maybe you can’t (or feel you shouldn’t) afford the time to share or debate your thought process.

At some point you have to just make the changes and run with them. And sometimes it feels like closing down a discussion with those four words is the easiest way to do just that.

But, as your childhood self can remember, those are hard words to swallow blindly. As an effective leader, you don’t really want to flex your muscles, but to have your employees buy into your decisions and work with them effectively.

Avery Agustine writes on The Muse, giving 3 suggestions for what you can say and how you can approach those situations rather than saying “Because I said so.”

1. “I’ve Decided to Do it This Way Because…”

First and foremost, what your employees are looking for is justification for your decision. They want to know that you’re not making changes simply because you have the power to do so.

You shouldn’t feel pressured to divulge every detail of the strategy meeting that led to each decision, of course—but you should be able to provide a clear, concise, and compelling reason for why you’re making the change.

If you can’t come up with an explanation beyond “Well, that’s the decision upper management made” or “That’s just the way things have to be,” then you haven’t asked enough questions yourself. Dive back into the reasoning behind the decision, or work with your boss to formulate a solid explanation that you can provide to your team—one that’s compelling, persuasive, and clearly shows why you’re enforcing this decision.

2. “Let’s Address Your Biggest Concerns”

When you initially explain a decision, your team may not necessarily be focused on the big picture—but instead, simply that the go-forward plan is different than what they currently know.

I can’t count the number of times that in response to a newly implemented change, my employees would tell me “But the old way worked just fine” or “We never had any issues with the way we used to do it.”

But, those aren’t actual concerns about the decision. They’re just complaints about having to experience change.

As the manager, you have to urge your team to narrow in on what they’re actually concerned about. Are they worried they won’t get enough training in the new process? Do they think a new workflow will take time away from their other tasks?

These are things you should be able to address—because ideally, you’ve already thought them through.

3. “This is the Way We’re Going to Try it First”

The key word here is, of course, first. This gently asserts your firm decision, while still letting your employees know that if it doesn’t work out the way you anticipate, you’ll be open to revisiting the issue down the road.

Acknowledging that you will be open to feedback in the future will help you get your employees on board for the time being—and, once they try it your way, they may find that their initial concerns aren’t as significant as they first thought.

With the generations in the working force right now, it’s very helpful to let your employees ask for more information. But for productivity’s sake, at some point you have to actually implement the changes and move forward. By using these suggestions, we hope you can address your employees’ thoughts and concerns quickly and directly, and that that will empower them to get on board and start making forward movement.

Abram Interstate Insurance Services, Inc. is a California wholesale insurance broker (CMGA) that has licensing and expertise to place business in both admitted and non-admitted markets for personal lines insurance and commercial lines insurance in California and surrounding areas.

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