As part of your effective leadership skills practice, be mindful of what not to say. These phrases are to be avoided at all costs — and here’s why.
- “Don’t take this personally.” How else could someone possibly take that comment, delivered before a critique of her own work? If the work of a particular department needs addressing, then address the department (not one individual), and simply lay out the problem with your options for resolving the situation. If the critique is indeed for an individual, why would the speaker contradict himself by making this statement? Don’t fall prey to this cliché. Simply offer your critique in a professional, considerate manner. No effective leader will invoke this statement.
- “Don’t come to me with a problem unless you have a solution.” The most logical response would be, “If I had the answer, I wouldn’t be coming to you in the first place.” Often, however, a manager will use this phrase in an effort to motivate employees to become independent problem solvers.
Too often, though, this approach will lead to unintended consequences — employees may sweep problems under the rug, or by other means ignore problems they are not equipped to solve. This will result in unexpected complications down the line, usually creating a larger problem than the first, which the manager will have to work out.
- “We need to talk about that sometime.” This is another contradictory statement. If someone comes to a manager about a problem or situation, they are already talking about it. To put off talking about the topic shuts down communication and makes the leader unapproachable. If it is not possible to address a concern at that moment, set a specific time to meet and work through the situation to find a resolution.
As you continue to practice effective leadership skills you will be encouraged to find increased productivity and workplace satisfaction.