Innovation and progress occur when people do not settle for the status quo. It is those who challenge mindsets, concepts and even protocol that are the catalyst of change. Any Organization who values progress will attain strong leaders, and strong leaders have strong views about their ideas. Simply put they are proud of those ideas. However, the downfall of any organization is putting pride ahead of progress; this is why we need to be willing to create an environment that allows for the challenging of upward authority.
While this is a very healthy environment for progress, there is still a proper way to challenge mindsets, concepts and protocol that honors the current authority figures.
1. Choose the proper time and place: Even the most appropriate challenges can seem like an attack when it is done at the wrong place and time. It is important to understand the audience present. When done in the wrong setting your credibility can be severely compromised.
2. The facts first: The best way to get an authority figure’s attention is to show that you’ve done your research. It is important that you show that you took the time to look at an issue from their point of view. Remember that the foundation work that you do before challenging can add credibility and even allies in the change that you seek. What better an ally than the authority figure you are challenging!
3. Offer solutions and alternatives: True leaders show that they’ve looked at all aspects of an issue by offering solutions and alternatives. After you have shown that you understand why a process currently exists, it now is your responsibility as a leader to find ways to make things better. Solutions and alternatives should always have the group as a whole in mind. If what you are suggesting only benefits a small portion of the team it has the potential to divide that team.
TODAY is the day to start operating at a level higher that you are currently on. Be a catalyst for change, but do it in a way that honors the current authority!