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What To Do When an Employee Disagrees With Your Decision

conflict management internal communication people manager strategy people ops problems
What To Do When an Employee Disagrees With Your Decision - LeAnne Lagasse

Welcome to People Ops Problems with LeAnne Lagasse, a bi-weekly video series designed to help Business and People/Culture Leaders improve employee engagement, retention, and communication with their employees. Sign up now to get it in your inbox.

If you’re a leader, It’s just a matter of time before you make a decision someone on your team doesn’t support. Or maybe even resents. 😣


And while part of being a leader is learning to live with some tension here – because we can’t make everyone happy all the time, how we communicate with our team members about our decisions will either decrease trust or increase trust.  

Watch the video above, or read the outline below, to learn one strategy that definitely doesn’t work and one that can make a huge difference when you’re navigating this situation. 


 👉🏻 What To Do When an Employee Disagrees With Your Decision


  • What Won't Work:

    • Communicating 'Because I said so.'
    • This 'strategy' relies on a weaker form of leadership - an appeal to authority and a 'legitimate power base.' This type of power (1959, French and Raven) comes from the belief that a person has the formal right to make demands and to expect others to be compliant and obedient.
    • But when you rely on this type of power over time, you likely lose respect, trust, and psychological safety with your team members.
    • Sometimes leaders send this message explicitly. But more often, we send it implicitly by:
      • Not engaging in discussion about the disagreement.
      • Not being willing to hear the opposing perspective.
      • Refusing to justify our position or explain our thinking.
      • Cutting people out of projects or conversations when we know they are a dissenting voice.


  • A Communication Strategy That Sets Us Up For More Success in Disagreement

    • Communicate About Your Thinking Process
    • Simply stated – tell the story of your thought process in a linear fashion.
    • This accomplishes a few things:
      • It keeps you honest. It makes you check yourself, bring biases to the surface, and identify if there are logical inconsistencies present in your argument.
      • It provides clarity to your team members about your intent and all of the factors and priorities you had to evaluate when you made the decision.
      • It coaches your team members for their long-term development about how leaders have to think through decisions. It models great leadership and communication.
    • Then, as an extension of this conversation, you can reestablish roles and responsibilities, acknowledge their position and their point, and point forward. 


Hey, thanks for being here and for watching/reading. My goal is to consistently create content that's engaging, applicable, and inspires you to continue learning and growing as a leader. If you have ideas for future content or any questions at all, please shoot me an email at: [email protected].

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