Leaders Consider the Source

When you survey people, formally or informally, beware this common trap: All responses are equally credible. Leaders can get distracted when looking at customer surveys, or employee engagement surveys, based on their own frame of mind at the time. Sometimes, we’re looking for the best, perhaps for reassurance, or to confirm our own biases. In … Read more

Own Your Tough Statements

There are certain words and phrases that can get us on the defensive before we even know what the topic is. One of the big ones is “No offense, but…” And related cushions followed by the word but. Remember that people on tight teams can handle tough talk. It’s okay for you to deliver tough … Read more

Leaders Explore Implications

People who explore implications show patience in evaluating ideas to determine potential benefits and drawbacks. I stayed in a brand-new hotel recently, and noticed something odd; the bathroom door was spring loaded to swing shut. Furthermore, when I checked in, the bathroom light and fan were on and running. This meant that when I entered … Read more

Leaders Seek Counsel

People who seek counsel tend to consult with trusted advisors to help evaluate risks and possible outcomes. We’ll start with a real-life negative example: A new superintendent in a school district put forth a new program idea: SCUBA diving instruction. He had done it at his old school, to great success (according to him), so he … Read more

Things Successful Leaders Avoid Saying (Part 9)

Here’s a common question, but it’s confusing and vague: “Would you mind?” For example, “Would you mind getting the report in a day early?” Seems like a basic question – but how do you handle the answer, “Sure!” Lots of times, it goes like this: “Sure… sure you’ll do it, or sure you’ll mind?” “What?” … Read more

Things Successful Leaders Avoid Saying (Part 8)

There are times in conversations or meetings when you really want to move on, but you don’t want to shut people down. So, you use a generic question that unintentionally telegraphs a lack of openness, rather than a desire to check-in. For example: “Does that make sense?” “Any questions?” “Does everybody get that?” Unfortunately, there’s no … Read more