Smart Leaders Avoid Saying These Things

Leadership coach, consultant and writer Dan Rockwell shared these tips in a recent blog post on things leaders should not say.

I should have. “Should have” is backward facing. Do your best to speak into the future. Instead, say “Next time.”

Why didn’t you? The same advice applies here as applies to “should have.” “Next time” is better than “last time.”

What can we do about that? “We” is a tiny act of cowardice that softens the blow of responsibility. “What could ‘you’ do next,” is better than, “What could ‘we’ do next?” (Unless you are planning to actively participate.)

It’s insincere to say “we” when you mean “you.”

It’s simple. Or, it’s easy. What’s simple to you is often difficult for others. Judge people through the lens of their experience and strength, not yours.

I don’t care. Always care. People who don’t care are heartless, less than human. It’s not a superpower to NOT care.

People who say, “I don’t care,” often do, but they’re afraid to admit it.

Whatever. This is a variation of “I don’t care.” Avoid it.

Don’t you agree? Questions that begin with “don’t” insult people’s intelligence and pressure them to agree.

Who’s going to say, “No,” when you ask, “Don’t you agree?

Failure is not an option. Some situations require perfect execution, landing airplanes and brain surgery, for example. The learning happens on cadavers and in flight simulators where failure doesn’t kill people.

People set low goals when failure is not an option. You learn when you fail.

But. Never say “but” after saying something good. It is an eraser. Try using “and” when you’re tempted to use “but.”

I didn’t mean to. “I didn’t mean to” is a sleazy way of not taking responsibility. The damage is done. Own it and move forward. Say what you intended, not what you didn’t intend.

Nice job. Be specific, not vague, when giving compliments. What was “nice” about it?

Source: Dan Rockwell, author of the blog Leadership Freak