If you want to encourage people to second-guess your decisions, question your ideas and doubt your confidence in a plan, do the following:
Negotiate over “final” decisions. Allow employees to share concerns and objections during brainstorming discussions. However, once you make an informed decision, don’t go back and forth with people over the merits of the plan.
Apologize for necessary actions. If you must make an unpopular decision or hold off on plans for legitimate reasons, don’t say “I’m sorry.” You’re doing what’s best for the team and organization, and those actions don’t warrant an apology. Acknowledge that people may be adversely affected and empathize with them, but don’t apologize for actions you must take.
Rush to defend your decisions. When you interrupt, become defensive or jump to justify your decisions, people may think you’re using aggression to cover up your lack of confidence. Hear people out. Then once they finish, acknowledge their feelings, but restate your decision and move on to the next steps.
—Adapted from “Want to Project Confidence in the Workplace? Don’t Make These 5 Communication Mistakes,” Marissa Russell, www.allbusiness.com.