Communicating unpopular yet important decisions is a difficult job for new and veteran leaders, but it is a job that every leader will tackle. In today’s episode, host John Laurito talks about how leaders can communicate these decisions effectively without everyone hating them.
[1:59] Here’s a riddle today
[7:14] Sometimes, leaders need to make an unpopular decision
[9:51] Be communicative about your unpopular decision
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership. What makes the best leaders so good? After running companies small and large over the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader. Alright. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader. I am John the Rio, your host. Yes. If you’re watching this, you’re noticing that I don’t have my normal camera because I’m very frustrated. My camera’s not working. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. So after many hours of tinkering around trying to figure out what the problem is, I resorted to just doing it now on Zoom, at least for these next couple of episodes until I can get somebody who knows how to hook this stuff up. I need like a video and sound engineer to come here to my place in Alice Springs and get everything set up, lighting and everything. So if anybody is out there that is an expert in all the lighting, all the video equipment and all the audio, I love an audio engineer to just just all the knobs on my I don’t know what I’m doing. I know how to talk. I know how to speak. I can’t set all this stuff up. It’s like unbelievably difficult. So when something goes wrong and a lot of folks said, I need help, this is my cry for help to my extremely talented audience out there who maybe there’s somebody listening that saying, You know what, I think I can help this poor guy with his video audio lighting.
John I just need somebody to help me get it. Perfect. So. Okay, enough about that. All right, so I got a riddle for you today. I know the last couple episodes, I didn’t put them out there because I still didn’t get answers. No guesses, correct guesses on the ones from the last few episodes. I don’t have it in front of me, so I can’t go back to it. But I will just tell you, I think it’s three or four episodes ago there were some riddles that are still out there. But I have a new one today. I’m going to give this to you. Today’s new riddle is one that I have made up. Yes, I have made it up myself. This is the first ever riddle coming to tomorrows leader created by yours truly. And here is the riddle interested to know who can guess this? And if you do again, you will get your name plastered all over the wall. Plastered is the right word, but spoken on this podcast through 91 different countries across the world. And yes, I will send you a signed copy of my book, Tomorrow’s Leader. Okay, here’s the riddle. To a father and a son are also brothers. How can that be? A father and a son are also brothers. How can that be? That is the riddle for today. Let me know what your guesses, what you think it is. And again, first one to text me or email me with the correct answer. Okay. All right. So today’s topic, let me start with a story. Why not? Because I love those stories. So I was recently traveling and I was in need of a shirt, dress, shirt, and I needed one pretty quickly. I was in a little bit of a bind, so I went to a very well known national store to get a men’s dress shirt again.
John I was a little bit under the gun is a little bit of a bind and the whole lot of time I went in there and they had a massive selection of shirts. I took a look at a couple of them and thought, I think my size is 17 and a half inch neck and 36, 37 sleeves, but I’m not sure exactly. I think that’s what it is. So in any event, I, I got a couple of shirts that I liked off of the rack and I asked a girl came up and asked, said, Can I can I help you? I suggested somewhere the dressing room is I just want try this on. And she said, well, we don’t have a dressing room, we actually don’t let people try on the shirts. And I’m. Like puzzled. I said, why? And she said, Well, because the the pins that are in the shirt, for those of you mentioned, has all these pins in it when it’s folded up and stuff. The pins get on the ground and they can cause injury. People can step on them and things like that. So we don’t allow people to try out shirts. And I said, What? I literally thought she was joking and said, Wait a sec, I can’t try on a shirt because it’s dangerous. It might actually cause an injury. I’ve never actually heard that before. I’ve never actually heard of anybody getting injured trying on a shirt before. I know these little pins in there, but I mean, they usually they’ll land in somebody’s spot or piercing their lungs. I mean, that’s just I don’t really understand that. She said, yeah, that’s that’s our policy. I said, Well, how I try this on, how do I know if there’s a rift? She said, Well, you know, we have a return policy so you can bring it back in 30 days if it doesn’t fit.
John I said, Well, that’s kind of a big pain in the ass. I’ve never heard of not being able to try on a shirt. Needless to say, I left there. I did buy this shirt. Thank God it did fit, but I bought the shirt because I had to buy the shirt and never really have a choice. I don’t have time to go somewhere else. And but I really was scratching my head. I was totally puzzled. Now, here’s the interesting thing. I don’t think that was the reason, the actual reason. I truly believe there’s another reason why they did not allow people to try on shirts. And in my mind, I’ve got a rack and through it I’m like, okay, well, maybe it was a covered back when it started. They eliminated people trying on shirts. Okay, I get that. A lot of stores did that, but we’re now out of COVID or for the most part I that we’re well beyond that point. Secondly is, okay, maybe it was like they had low inventory and they just didn’t have enough shirts on the shelves. But I don’t think that was the case. I mean, I sold a lot of shirts there. There were a lot of shirts, shirts there. And they even so, you know, if there was low inventory, that’s still, you know, again, that’s helping to facilitate the process of selling shirts. The other answer that went through my head is, well, maybe they’re just lazy. I mean, honestly, maybe they just don’t want to go through the effort of having to repack a shirt. When you open it up and take the pins out of it, you got to maybe the salesperson is the one who’s got to go fold it back up and put the pins back in and maybe they’re just lazy and want to do it.
John And that’s the answer that I left with in my head. Now, here’s the interesting thing. Again, I that may not be the answer. It may be something else that I didn’t even think about. But I know it’s not because there’s injuries that I cannot imagine that that store has had any injuries as a result of people trying on the shirt. So don’t tell me that’s the reason why. I know that’s not the reason. Because here’s the thing and I agree. Why is this important? What’s this have to do about leadership? Well, leaders are always faced with making unpopular decisions. And the question is, how do you handle? And if you’re the type of leader that doesn’t want to make unpopular decisions or you don’t make unpopular decisions and you’re really not a leader, you have to be willing to make the tough decisions you can’t make, can’t be an appeal based leader, which is a leader that is just trying to please everybody. That type of leader doesn’t last very long in most organizations and they ultimately, in the end, they may win short term. If they don’t win long term, you have to be in times you have to make unpopular decisions. But what’s important is you have to explain to people the reason why. Why did you make that decision? What were the factors that you considered? What led you? What problem or opportunity led you to this point of making that decision? And when you’re honest and transparent and truly candid with people and forthright, then it removes the possibility of anything else when they may not like. The decision doesn’t mean they’re going to like it more, but they may understand it more, in which case they can at least support the decision.
John And there’s trust built in the leader. There’s respect, there’s influence is credibility. When you don’t tell the truth or you tell or give a spin job or something that people can see through is not the real answer. Then they’re left in their mind to come up with what the real answer is. And it’s usually worse than the real answer. So in this case, maybe it was an inventory issue, but in my mind I left. She told me it was because injuries happened and I left thinking, okay, it’s because they’re lazy. That was truly what I left thinking. That’s because they’re lazy. They’ll put the shirts together. In reality, the answer, the real answer might have been much less significant than that, and it might have been much less worse than that. And here I am now doing a podcast talking about this, and I won’t say the name of the store. I should probably, but even it’s a it’s a well-known national brand for men’s clothing, so national chain. So in any event, that’s the lesson, right? As leaders, you have an unpopular decision that you’ve made. You have to be very communicative and clear with why you made that decision. What was it? What were the factors that. Led to that decision. What other options did you look at and why did you select this? Again, you will get much more buy into that decision. And fact of the matter is, many people have had many times where people said, you know what, John, after you explain that, I now understand it more. To be honest, if I was in your situation, I probably would’ve made the exact same decision. So I appreciate you being as forthright and clear with why you made that decision, which I didn’t like at first.
John I still don’t really like it, but I understand it more. I’ve had people, many, many people tell me that. And that’s what you’re after as a leader, right? You want that type of feedback ultimately, especially with those tough decisions that you have to make. Right. So that’s my $0.02 my my leadership lesson for you today. Well, don’t avoid those bad decisions, those unpopular decisions. Make sure the communication is really clear and loud and frequent because people need to hear it over and over again. As to why that decision was made, what was the backdrop, what were the behind the scenes elements that people didn’t understand or know? What were the factors that were weighed and what other options were looked at? And here’s why we made the decision. And we’re moving forward. You will get much more by by the OC and by the way. Yep. All right. I was in my closet the other day. And I step on a pin. Yes. All right. I’ll be honest. Yes, I I’ve never done that in my life. I stepped on something like an owl and there was a pin on the ground. I kid you not. That was in my foot and I had to pluck it out a pin. How did a pin get I mean, all right. It came from a shirt, so I don’t know. Maybe that was the weird leg lesson. That was the gotcha that I actually did get injured, uh, you know, trying to blow it crazy. All right, so I just, you know, to debunk my, my, my, my story. There are so many, but, yeah. Crazy. I’m okay. I’m okay. I didn’t need medical attention or anything, but it was a little scary. Okay, that’s it for today.
John I hope this was helpful as always. Like share, subscribe, go to below. Give a five star review, of course, and I love that. Thank you for your five star reviews. I’ve seen a few of them recently. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. That helps propel this show to next level, to a wider audience, to new people. If you know people that are leaders or just want to learn how to lead themselves better, whether they’re in a formal position or not, leadership is life. When you lead better, you live better. That is the truth. So get more people involved in the show. Let me know your ideas and suggestions for future guests and topics, and I will see you next time. Thanks. Bye.
John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!