7 Things Leaders Don’t Say

In gaining momentum in my career, I have learned a thing or two about people and behaviours .  I’m no expert by any means but I have found there are certain phrases or attitudes that people in leadership roles never tend to say or use.  Do any of these ring true for you?:

1.  I told you so.  No one wants to be reminded that they were wrong.  A good leader understands that the person who made the mistake will probably have learned from it and will move on without saying anything.

2. If I need you to know, I will tell you.  Don’t insult people’s intelligence by dangling carrots in front of them.  If you have information that you cannot impart at a particular time, don’t even let on that you know anything all.  People will resent that you have information that they are not privy to.

3.  To get anything done, I have to do it myself.  Let go of the control.  A good leader will delegate tasks and have faith in his/her people to get the jobs done.  If it isn’t done to your standards then lay out your expectations and have them try again.  People can’t learn if you don’t let them make mistakes.  Besides, making them feel incompetent is not going to instill confidence or trust.

4.  You think that’s bad, this one time I…   Let people have their moment.  Perhaps you have a great story to tell but wait for another time.  You’ll steal someone else’s thunder by overshadowing their story with one of your own.  Appreciate what they have to say.  It will make them feel good and you’ll get the benefit of hearing a great tale.

5.  I am so great.  Or other ways of outright saying how nice, good-looking, well-spoken or good you are at something.  If you truly are as good as you think you are, people will notice it themselves and won’t need to be told.  And if you are fishing for compliments, this won’t work.  People don’t take well to gloating.  You may never hear how esteemed you are, you just need to have faith in yourself and others will follow.

6.  I hate the way things are.  Don’t complain.  Everyone has moments and situations that aren’t ideal but complaining about them just brings others down or promotes an atmosphere of frustration or helplessness.  We all need to vent at times just make sure you’re doing it to come up with a solution and not to breed misery.

7.  You wouldn’t understand.  Really?  Don’t assume you know the level of knowledge or experience of others.  Maybe they won’t understand but you’ll never know making this assumption.  You’re also not creating an environment of acceptance and trust.

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6 thoughts on “7 Things Leaders Don’t Say

  1. Excellent points. Raising people’s awareness of these rude ways of communicating is essential to reestablishing the foothold of civility in Western society. Thanks for writing these down so clearly.

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  2. These points certainly ring true, and are common missteps that many managers are not aware they are committing. I especially agree with the one in which others overshadow a colleague’s or subordinate’s story, which is very personal and demoralizing. Thanks for highlighting this.

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  3. Excellent comments and so easy to fall into those patterns of communicating, especially the one-up-manship in story telling. Thank you for sharing . I will be including this focussed approach in some of my training with executives

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