Senior Stakeholder Management – Should You Always Bring the Answer?

Posted on February 12, 2012

Recently, we have heard leadership “experts” present two completely opposite pieces of advice relative to managing senior stakeholders. Says one expert – the person who is bringing a problem to a senior leader should present the issue, then stop and listen for any feedback, questions or recommendations. On the other hand another expert advises to never bring an issue to a senior stakeholder without a recommended action, or a resolution activity already launched.

So which of these recommendations are appropriate?

The leader who is exercising intelligent disobedience will see these as alternatives that may actually be executed, but will approach the senior leader conversation having prepared something altogether different. The Intelligent Disobedience Leadership team regularly examines the power of questions as being as crucial (if not more crucial) than any particular solution that is brought to the senior leader.

Well formed multiple choice questions are powerful for the leader who has significant influence or the employee who does not have a position of power within the organization. Multiple choice options which include pros and cons for each alternative suggested can reflect a broad and balanced view of the organization, and a degree of business savvy. When combined with rationale for a recommended option, individuals with little or no organizational power can leave a good impression and assert influence over decisions made.

Are you taking the time to construct crisp and reflective multiple choice questions when bringing a decision forward to senior leaders? Are you taking opportunities to increase your influence through the questions you pose to senior leaders?

Intelligent Disobedience Leadership provides workshops, coaching and consulting with a focus on courageous leadership through intelligent disobedience. We focus on helping you create “30 second” messages that grab the attention of your senior leaders – often leveraging multiple choice questions.  For further information about our offerings email us at