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How to Turn Your most prominent critics into your most incredible supporters.

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

History is filled with great leaders and influential characters. These figures might have been quite controversial about what they believed or conducted. But that does not mean we cannot take lessons from how they motivated their followers or dealt with dissidents. In this case, we will look at the point of Mussolini, the Italian dictator who can teach modern leaders how to deal with rebels and naysayers in their ranks. Listen and learn. Transform Gizmo. Mussolini was a political theorist with predefined methods for dealing with various situations that would arise as he led. One such strategy was called Transform mismo. Here, he would take the loudest critics in his party and then get them on his side by giving them jobs of immense importance. This goes against our instincts, but it is a much more effective way of neutralizing a threat than the alternative. Often, when someone is vocally critical of our leadership style, our first impulse might be to cut them off and isolate them, remove them from others whose opinion they might sway, punish them, or make an example. But all this does, is make them more bitter, angrier, and more motivated. Worse, it can make a martyr out of them and turn you into the bad guy. It is only a matter of time before they gather their resources and try to stage a coup.

On the other hand, promoting your critics and giving them a key role within your organization will flatter them and prove to them that you value their opinion. And it would help if you viewed that disagreeing with your own is far more valuable than having more yes men.

What is more, is that this person will often quickly learn the burden of leadership and realize why things are not relatively so easy. They will soften your position and at least better understand your motivations. More than anything else, they will be too busy at this point to become dangerous. That and you will be able to keep a close eye on them. As they say, Keep your friends close and enemies closer. Next time someone in your ranks starts to kick up a stink. Consider offering them a raise instead of trying to shut them down as quickly as possible. You may just create a powerful ally.

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