Steps to Management Success – Step 129: Offer Better Alternatives

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 15th, 2010


Offer Better Alternatives

Don’t criticize unless you can suggest better alternatives or approaches. Most people have some personal investment in the positions they put forth and may take exception when others shoot down their ideas without offering better suggestions. If, however, you explain how alternatives could be more advantageous, others may accept your reasoning and not take it personally.

WHAT IT MEANS: If you repeatedly find fault but don’t suggest better approaches, people will ultimately stop listening to you. You will be viewed as negative, disruptive, and not achievement or team oriented. You will be avoided and could fall out of the loop. It’s easy to be critical, but offering viable alternatives takes work; it forces you to think, learn, and examine better ways, not just react.

ACTION PLAN: Always try to find out what is going to be discussed and think it thoroughly through in advance. If something is suddenly sprung on you that does not feel right, don’t immediately dismiss it. Explain that you need more time to think about it before you commit. Then, examine it more deeply and search for better ways.

EVEN BETTER: When presented with weak ideas, it may be beneficial to help those who suggested them to come up with better solutions. When you determine that they’re off course, don’t knock their conclusions. Instead, offer suggestions that you could explore together. Present just part of the picture or point them in the right direction. Then, let them find better answers. When people play a role in solving problems, it can give them more of an incentive to see that their plan succeeds. And, it can encourage them to think matters through more completely in the future.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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