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Kind Leaders Create Cooperation Instead of Buy-In

How often do you use the words "buy-in"when talking about getting people on the same page about an idea, a new way to work or a project to be done?

Here's why using the word cooperation is a better choice for Kind Leaders!

I've had numerous discussions this week with leaders and managers who are thinking about introducing new ideas, ways to work, or projects to their teams.

"I'll need to get their buy-in", they say when talking about colleagues or team members that are going to be involved. "That way the project will go smoothly."

In my experience, getting people to "buy-in" seldom works as leaders think it will. That's because the whole idea of "buy-in" is based on convincing someone to do something that wasn't their idea, and that you, as the leader, already assume that they aren't going to want to do.

That's because the idea of "buy-in" involves a kind of interaction where one individual or group of people are supposed to compromise their ideas and give someone else's idea a try. Sometimes that works for a little while, but often the people who "bought-in" in the beginning decide to "buy-out" after a while, and go back to doing things their way. That's human nature! We like to do things our way!

Kind Leaders know that helping people learn to cooperate, to work together towards a common goal for mutual benefit, is more likely to have long-term success than getting people to "buy-in". And fostering ways in which people work cooperatively is a great way to teach people positive skills that they can use when interacting at home and in the community outside of work.

To create cooperation, not just "buy-in", Kind Leaders let people know the target (what should be happening) and then help them work together to figure out ways to reach it! That way, instead of having two sides (the side with the idea, and the other side that needs to 'buy-in'), everyone is working together building on each others' ideas.

So, here's my challenge for you today! When you have your Leader Hat on, and you're thinking that you need to get "buy-in", think instead about how you can help people interact together in ways that create cooperation instead!


For more information on "buy-in" versus "cooperation" please take a look at Chapter 7, Collaboration, Cooperation and Kindness, Not Competition, of The Kind Leader: A Practical Guide to Eliminating Fear, Creating Trust and Leading with Kindness.

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