Why You Need to Tell Them Why

December 8, 2018
Mary Jo Asmus

Sometimes you need to make a decision without input from others. However, when you are asked about your reasons for your conclusion, a response like “It needs to be done this way” or “No, we can’t do that” can be seen as disrespectful and authoritarian. It can have the sensation of a throwback to our parents when they responded with “Because I said so.”

Your employees are capable adults. They deserve to know the reasoning behind your decisions. Just making them and walking away isn’t the best practice. So, when you have to decide without their input, tell them why you are making your decision because it will:

Show respect for them. It’s a sign of respect to let others in on the thinking behind your choices. Your honesty in revealing your reasons will keep them from speculating and create a sense of trust between you and the people impacted.

Help them understand the facts or instincts you use to come to your conclusion. When others understand your thinking processes, they’ll be more likely to follow your lead in the future in making well-thought out decisions. They’ll also be able to support you better while passing your reasoning on to others who need to know the “why” of a decision.

Develop them because they’ll be learning not only why and how you make the choices you do, but will push back on them when there might be a better decision that could be made. That could keep you out of hot water. Why not count on your employees to let you know if a conclusion you come to could do some harm that you hadn’t thought about?

Free you up to do more important things than make decisions that your employees should be making. Haven’t you got enough higher-level work to do? Are you feeling stressed about all the things you’re not getting to? Once your employees understand your reasons for the choices you make, they’ll be able to make decisions without your intervention.

Tell others why you made the choice you made and watch trust, respect, and their development grow.

More From Mary Jo Asmus

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Mary Jo Asmus is an executive/leadership coach whose work spans decades of making a difference in the lives of hundreds of executives, leaders and teams in Fortune 500, mid- and small- sized business, governments and nonprofits. She focuses on facilitating individuals and teams from first-line supervisor to the C-suite to create, develop, and influence the relationships that can make them extraordinary.

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