There are often times when people are faced with choosing between two less than desirable options.  I believe people cope with the negative outcome much better when they are the ones to make the choice.

> If you are the one who picks between a crack ‘o dawn flight or a long layover, you’ll be much more tolerant of it than if a travel agent imposed such a bad schedule on you.

> Students who have to choose between an 8am class or a Friday afternoon class will be more understanding of the option if they make the decision instead of an advisor.

> I believe people will tolerate pain better if they are the ones deciding to live with it vs. having surgery — rather than a doctor mandating one way or the other.

> Budget cuts that individual departments make seem to be more palatable than those imposed by the CFO.

The list could go on and on.  Keep this in mind when you are faced with a negative situation for your staff or organization, and try to give those impacted as much decision power as they can have in the matter.  

In the play Another Antigone, one of the characters says: “If you can choose, it’s not tragic.”  Try to allow your people that choice.

— beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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