Things Successful Leaders Avoid Saying Part 12

Effective communication avoids misunderstandings. It can also clear up existent misunderstandings. In our quest to be understood, we may accidentally slip into using one of these versions of a potentially manipulative accusation: “You misunderstood me.” “You must have misunderstood me.” “You don’t get it; you’re not listening.” “If you really heard what I said, you’d … Read more

Leaders Ask, “Is There a Middle Step?”

We all have situations where we feel stuck and think there’s no way forward. Let me give you some examples: I need to address someone’s obnoxious behavior in meetings, but I don’t know how to bring it up. I’m bothered by a team member’s disengagement, but I’m having a hard time putting into words what … Read more

Leaders Discover True Intentions—In Themselves.

In the December 29 Business Record, my friend Sarah Noll Wilson shared her thoughts on intentions. I’ve learned this year that sometimes we have sneaky, shadow intentions that may influence our actions and conversations without even knowing. Now when something doesn’t go quite right, I ask myself what my real intention was in this situation. If … Read more

Leaders Know It’s Important to Know

I’ve written a lot on this blog about being others-focused instead of being self-focused. If I asked, I’m sure you could come up with a list of outward behaviors for each of the two categories. On the self-focused list would probably be words like tardiness, frowning, complaining, ignoring others’ needs, and declining to help. Words … Read more

Leaders Help People see People as People

Let’s start with an example: Aaron was annoyed with his boss, Craig. So annoyed, in fact, that Aaron went over Craig’s head and complained to Craig’s boss, Annette. “Craig’s always breezing in and out. Never listens. Doesn’t have that ‘open door’ policy he brags about. And really tunes me out when I tell him about … Read more

Leaders Know that True Kindness Beats Niceness

I live in Iowa, and a term that gets floated a lot is “Iowa Nice.” As time goes on, though, it gets used ironically as much as it gets used sincerely. I think that’s because “Nice” doesn’t always equal “Kind.” Some leaders need to be reminded that giving positive you’re-on-the-right-track feedback is important and motivating. … Read more