Pushback is an inevitable part of our life in general and work in particular. There are different scenarios and types of pushback. Below is a simple powerful framework that you can apply in most situations to enable you to leverage pushback as a stimulation for candid and productive discussions.
- Talk about the WHY. If pushback is expected then before vocalizing your idea or point of view (or whatever the case might be), start with the WHY. First explain why what you say next is important to consider or why it should be brought up right now or implemented the way you suggest. Then move to the solution or the discussion of the subject. Make sure your argumentation is short and straight to the point.
- Ask about the WHY. Ask the people who are giving you pushback why they think otherwise.
- Give them room to speak and be heard. Make sure the communication is in a professional and constructive manner. It has to be a dialogue not a tug-of-war.
- Offer your point of view as an option and welcome other solutions for discussion. If you are putting forward a solution to the problem but all you hear is pushback with no feedback, welcome alternative ideas and discuss them as a team.
- Come prepared. Do your research and ensure what you are bringing up is accurate and indeed relevant given the status quo. If applicable, circulate your idea/solution within the team or other project stakeholders, to get a certain level of validation and backup.
- Use pushback as a tool to improve your solution and come back stronger.
- Never take it personally, no matter what.