Life is full of unpleasant and difficult decisions, especially when these decisions will affect other people in a real and tangible way. For you, making a decision may mean firing an employee or other such unpleasant task that is not only unpopular, but is also very difficult to actually execute. When faced with such a task, it is tempting to get it over with as fast as possible, but in many situations, “ripping the Band-Aid off” is not the ideal approach. When doing something difficult or unpopular, it is important to do it the right way.
Here are a few tips that may make doing a difficult thing or making a tough decision a little easier:
- Be honest. Above all else tell the truth. People will respect you more if they can trust what comes out of your mouth. Don’t give false hope where there is none and always speak truthfully, but with tact, when asked your opinion. Truth–it’s the best way to navigate a tough situation.
- Be fair. If this decision will cause another person pain or inconvenience, respect the fact that their feelings toward you may be less than pleasant. Being fair also requires you to honestly evaluate all possible options and provide the least-painful solution. Treat others fairly and equitably, especially when you hold a position of power. Pay people their dues when they have been honestly earned.
- Be smart. Often times, there are multiple solutions to a single problem. Life is rarely black and white, and, sometimes, additional consideration may reveal that an alternative is beneficial and practical. It’s okay to ask for counsel from a trusted source–an outside perspective may just save you from unnecessary hurt and complications.
- Be ready. There are a few decisions that are simply unpopular, even if critically necessary. Be ready to deal with the aftermath gracefully and patiently, all while holding your ground. Being kind and compassionate does not mean that you have to compromise. Be strong, be firm, but be gracious.
If you own a business or manage a company, chances are at some point you will have to make a decision that is less than popular. Doing the right thing may require walking some difficult terrain, but, unfortunately, this sometimes comes with the territory of entrepreneurship. If you prepare yourself for this eventuality, you will be ready to walk through these times with confidence. Having confidence, thick skin and kindness represents the formula for handling difficult tasks in the right way.