Making your employees feel involved in the process and letting them be heard is a good thing. They will feel motivated to contribute more to the company if they know that their ideas are valued. Those who have constantly given great ideas should even be promoted to a higher position since they have the ability to do better.
Sadly, not all ideas coming from your employees are great. Let’s face it. There are ideas that are just not worth pushing at all. They are completely useless and they could even hurt the company more. The dilemma now is on how to tell them that their ideas are not good without making them feel bad. Here are some tips to help you reject bad ideas.
Start your sentence with “what if”
This allows you to use their ideas as a springboard for another idea, which is more polished and better. However, you don’t say it in a way that makes them feel rejected. Instead, you still say that your new idea is not final because of the phrase “what if”. This also makes it clear that whatever you say is just an idea and everyone can still chime in.
Sometimes, bad ideas are not necessarily that bad. They are just misguided. This could stem from the fact that there were misconceptions along the way. The employee might not have understood certain things and so they have made such a suggestion. If you clarify certain issues, they might be enlightened and realize that their own idea is bad.
Try to negotiate or modify
There are ideas that are not totally bad. There is still some sense in what was said. You should not reject the said idea, but try to get the good point out of it. From there, you can negotiate to make compromise or go for some modifications. For sure, they won’t feel bad if they know that their idea was used as a springboard for something better even if their entire idea was not accepted.
Be clear right from the start
If you want to be blunt in saying that one idea does not work, it is fine. You just have to repeat it over and over again before you begin the meeting that not all ideas will be accepted. This helps them prepare for the possibility of rejection. They won’t feel bad anymore especially if everyone else also has an idea that was not fully accepted.
Apologize and provide reasons
Another way of being blunt about rejecting an idea is to say no and apologize about it. You don’t need to be rude when rejecting an idea though. When you apologize, it should be followed by an explanation. Let them know why the said idea won’t work or if there are underlying issues they might not be familiar of that could have made you think that way.
In the end, everyone has to be tough about rejection. It is part of work life and of life in general. However, as a leader, you need to find a way to encourage people to say their thoughts and completely rejecting them at all times won’t help.
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