Leadership Versus Pacification

This is one of those topics that I affectionately label as “ponderous”.  The definitions stand for themselves.  Leadership means “to lead” or the action of leading a group of people.  Pacification means “to pacify” or literally “to negotiate”.  The question is, where’s the balance?  Should there even be pacification?

Leadership means you have to make decisions all of the time.  Hopefully in your work environment many people rally to your leadership and are grateful for the direction you are taking their team and company.  At times a leader is put into a position where the decision will not be responded to favorably by the team.  Is this the time to pacify?  Is this the time to negotiate?  For arguments sake we are going to assume that a decision has been made by the company of which the leaders are required to implement.  This is your job.  This is your requirement.  You know there will be some people sucking lemons over this decision.  Which scenario do you relate to? Which scenario below reflects your leadership style?

Leadership pacification

Leader Scenario 1

You pass along the direction your company is taking to your team but you make sure you stand out as their ally.  You are just doing your job.  You know how they feel.  You don’t agree with the decision but let’s all just rally together and make the best of it.

Leader Scenario 2

You reword the direction or new policy to soften the blow.  You look for loopholes to exclude certain people whom you do not feel comfortable around perhaps because of previous hostile encounters.  You look for room to compromise on other policies so that you can negotiate a more comfortable solution to keep the peace.

Leader Scenario 3

You clearly stand by the direction given by your superiors.  You realize that your opinion on whether the new policy is good or bad will ultimately come across when you deliver the news to your team.  You realize that pacifying will only erode your image of leadership.  At the same time you are very cognizant of your people.  You are prepared to actively listen to their feedback on the policy.  You may have some experiences in your back pocket of when other changes took place and how they benefited your company and team.


So which one are you?  Do you pacify or do you lead?  Leaders can actually strike a balance.  Leaders do not pacify or negotiate on company policy but may be prepared for the emotional negotiation. Can you assist an employee to cope and commit?  This is where many aspects of emotional intelligence come into play.  New team members are more than likely extremely smart and ready to tackle the world.  However they may lack experience or street smarts so to speak.  As a leader you need to know your audience on an individual basis.  Leaders do not take a one size fits all.  That’s called management.

Written by Jonathan Saar