Dealing with Angry Stakeholders
These days, many leaders and public relations officers are confronted with frustrated, angry individuals and stakeholders. Some are feeling gloomy, not hopeful about the future, some think the "world is rigged" and they are being treated unfairly, and some believe in an us-versus-them ideology. Sometimes this kind of thinking patterns are deliberately fueled by other, unscrupulous leaders for their own gain.
How to manage situations of stakeholder outrage?
Prof. Ramanna recommends a useful framework for managing this kind of stakeholder outrage
consisting of five steps:
- TURN DOWN THE TEMPERATURE
- Acknowledge the clinical bases of outrage.
- Establish shared processes for debate.
- Allow time for reflection.
- ANALYZE THE OUTRAGE
- Analyze the causes.
- Analyze catalysators (driving forces, people, events).
- SHAPE AND BOUND (NARROW DOWN) YOUR RESPONSES
- Consider your responsibility, vulnerability, corporate reputation.
- Shift expectations.
- UNDERSTAND YOUR POWER TO MOBILIZE OTHERS. Use various forms of stakeholder power mapping to assess power positions, both now and in the future.
- RENEW RESILIENCE. Increase your ability to recover from negative events. Both organizational resilience and personal, as a leader.
⇨ What do you think of this framework? Any other tips for dealing with angry stakeholders?
Source: Ramanna K., "Managing in the Age of Outrage", HBR Jan-Feb 2023, pp. 96-107