Team Lead: dealing with rejections

As a team leader you will often come into situations where you wishes, assignments or processes are rejected by a team member. It is always difficult to deal with such situation. You are in a position where you want to address something which has to be done. So you cannot accept a rejection. And you team member is in a situation where he gets an order to do something he does not want to do for some good reason.

Usually a normal reaction on your side may be frustration. And maybe you answer: “I understand your concerns but this has to be done.” But in this case you don’t have had understood the concerns of you team member. A better way to deal with this situation is a talk about the reasons of the rejection.

At first you have to understand: rejection is normal. There is no change without resistance. You cannot fight against this issue. It is a normal human behavior. Therefore you have to work with this feeling. Let there be space for resistance. This will be the only way to overcome this resistance.

You may try the following procedure:

  1. Take the pressure away
  2. Find reasons
  3. Modify your Taskl

At first you have to take the pressure away by asking the team member for the reasons of the rejection. What makes it difficult to accept the task? In the resulting dialogue you should try to find the backgrounds for the concerns. Afterwards you have to modify you task in a way to weaken the concerns. Thus there is more space for your team member. You are with him. This will help to reduce the concerns and most often the task will be accepted.

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