The Point: While there are a gluttony of behaviors/actions you should be doing as a leader, we thought it would be interesting to take a typical Tip of the Spear contrarian view of what you should STOP doing as a leader. As such, the following seven (7) part series was developed based on executive coaching conversations had with leaders. In reviewing these leadership behaviors/actions, see if you see a little bit of yourself in the examples provided (No doubt you know several leaders besides yourself guilty)… Enjoy!
That’s Good… But
Tim was conducting one of the Monday morning kick-off meetings for his leadership team, and I was “shadowing” him as part of our executive coaching engagement. We had developed the agenda last week, sent it to all attending parties, and the meeting thus far was going off without a hitch. As a matter of fact, perhaps one of his best meetings to date (so said one of the C-Suite leaders in attendance). And then came a topic “Open for Discussion”…
As a collaborative leadership team, each person present was considered the subject matter expert in their respective part of the organization. When Tim asked for feedback on a future initiative, each leader was expected to provide perspective from their vantage point. One such leader spoke up and gave evidentiary/fact-based data regarding where such an initiative could potentially head in the coming weeks/months if launched as intended. And then Tim said it…
Questions Attract | Statements Repel
By saying “That’s good… But” what Tim was telling his leader (and all the other leaders simultaneously) was that their idea wasn’t really good at all. Instead, what came out of his mouth next was in fact the right response. Considered the one and only right answer. Perhaps even my opinion is the only one that counts!
So what could Tim have done? Instead of in an instant wiping out any/all credibility, he could have followed-up the perspective given with a question (What? Where? When? Who? and How? but never Why?)
Questions attract people (including leaders/non-leaders) to you. They reflect curiosity. They also make people comfortable with what you are saying (dare I say “Trust” you?) Making statements pushes people away from you.
So in this post we’ve covered not saying “That’s Good… But” to those that work with us. Nothing undermines the leaders credibility faster than a group of employees that don’t feel like they’re part of the team, and if you have all the answers all the time, what do you really need anyone else around you for after all? Replacing that phrase with a question will draw people into the conversation, instead of pushing them away.
PS – You may also enjoy some of the other recent posts I wrote:
- The Leadership Challenge: Saying “Thank You”
- The Leadership Challenge: Are You Mindful?
- The Leadership Challenge: Are You Better Off Lucky Than Good?
- The Leadership Challenge: Can You Drive the Development of Leaders Who Transform Your Business?
- What’s Inside Your Leadership Time Capsule?
- The Leadership Challenge: 10 Characteristics to Develop Your Executive Presence
- The Leadership Challenge: Happy New Year! Now What?
- Leadership Amnesia: Should You Forget the Past to Move Forward to a Better Future?
- The Leadership Challenge: Are Your SMART Goals DUMB?
- The Leadership Challenge: Are You Climbing the Leadership Mountain?
- The Leadership Challenge: They Want You To Fail! 8 Leadership Tips to Overcome Failure
- The Leadership Challenge: Do You Exercise Your Moral Muscle?
- The Leadership Challenge: Conducting Post-Mortem Reviews
Sam Palazzolo is the Managing Director at Tip of the Spear Ventures, an agile Venture Capital and Business Advisory Services firm specializing in Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, and Communication Skills Training for Leaders.