MAINTAIN YOUR OBJECTIVITY AND CREDIBILITY THROUGH A ONE-OVER-ONE APPROVAL PROCESS.

One-over-one means that the actions you want to take for/against your direct reports must be approved by your boss. You shouldn’t have unilateral authority to reward or punish those under you without first clearing it with someone over you. Don’t be the judge, jury, and executioner of your staff. Separation of powers is a worthy and time-tested concept that has direct application to the business world. With positional power, you can change lives with a stroke of a pen: pay raises, promotions, demotions, dismissals. That kind of power deserves a check and balance. Having to justify your actions to someone above you is not a perfect solution by any means. But at least it presumes the decision making is objective.

Increase transparency to all of your key constituents.

Offering a window to your bosses into your most sensitive of decisions will increase the transparency and therefore trust related to your judgments. It fosters a stronger position of moral authority and not a weaker one. The strength of your image is an important part of the tone you set as a leader.

Support your decisions with objective information.

Facts are your friends when it comes to important judgments. They provide for just outcomes but equally are key lubricants for the change process as they are the foundation for rational communications. People need to understand the reasons behind your demands in order to best comply. It is much easier to explain why when the rationale is fact-based.

Explain the differences to winners and losers.

Your ability to say that the process drove the decision, it was scrutinized and therefore fair, is a powerful way to build credibility. The beneficiaries of the decisions (the winners) will feel like they’ve really earned it. The disadvantaged (losers) will at least feel it was fair. It’s essential for both to have a solid reason to say yes or no and the fact that the decision came under a higher level of scrutiny will increase the credibility of the explanation.