Leadership Nudge® 409 – What about blockers? admin December 14, 2022

Leadership Nudge® 409 – What about blockers?

Leaders come across many obstacles when trying to implement change. Here, David gives advice for working with people who push back.

One of the questions I get pretty regularly is “how do you handle blockers or people who are opposed to the culture that you want to build?”  

Well. You want to decide, is this person a blocker and a skeptic? Because they’re a professional skeptic and cynic. And that’s how they get attention or, or have they? Do they have legitimate issues? And one of the ways to separate that is to ask them, “What have you tried?”  

Now, if they haven’t tried anything, then I really don’t have a lot of time for them. And so, well, go try something.  

Now, if they’re trying things and things aren’t working out quite right – then work through that. But if they’re more of the kind that just want to get attention by complaining, the best approach is to ignore them. Because the more you give those people attention (attention is a positive psychological reward) you will get more of the behavior that you reward. If you reward the skeptic, the person who needs more hand holding, the person who won’t try anything, but just has all this intellectual hang ups with things, then that’s exactly what you’re gonna get – more of those kinds of people.  

Generally, you don’t want that. You want people who are willing to try things. It doesn’t need to be perfect, fine. But you always want to spend your attention, time and attention, and precious time on Earth and energy with the people who are willing to try things and learn and move forward, even if it’s imperfect. For the skeptics, try to ignore them. If you have to move them out, give them a “imaginary promotion” to a different part of the organization.  

I’m David Marquet. That’s your Leadership Nudge.