If you’re a leader, it’s likely that not everyone you work with will agree with your decisions.

And that is okay.

(In fact, if everyone does agree with your decisions, I would challenge you to consider that you might have a bit of people pleaser in you).

Leadership involves making unpopular decisions, and navigating complex situations and relationships with your team, stakeholders, and clients. Even if they don’t agree with you or like your decisions, you still need to get their buy-in. This means, you’ll need to convince them to change their mind, even if they don’t like it.

So, how do you do that? I think everyone would like a magic wand that we can wave that makes everyone agree with us. I don’t quite have a magic wand, but I can share this with you!

In the book, “Edge: turning adversity into advantage” by Laura Huang. They observed and interviewed more than 60 leaders who are trying to convince business associates and other people to change their minds on a course of action they initially disagreed with. The leaders who were the most successful in overcoming other people’s skepticism had one thing in common.

The thing that they did differently, is they diagnosed the root of the fundamental disagreement before trying to persuade the other person. They first asked themselves “what is driving their resistance?”.

In essence “seek first to understand, before seeking to be understood”.

Instead of stating your case, listen first, and understand the other person’s point of view. Once you’ve diagnosed the root of the reason that you disagree, you’ll then be able to work out what the action is to move forward.

It seems so small and simple, but this small change can make a fundamental difference in how you interact with other people and how you can change somebody’s mind.

And that is your magic wand.

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