Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pick a side!

Leaders for better or for worse, elect a direction and move forward. Or that's the theory at least. Too often communications can become fraught with loop-holes, wiggle room and contextual back doors that weaken both the communication and the communicator. Worse, words that are so specific and leave no room to maneuver can cause problems as well. These weak words undermine success. Are these folks afraid that someone might hold them accountable for their words? That somehow they will be looked at differently for prognostications that don't go to plan? They should. That's part of leading. Making choices. Getting results. Learning and moving forward still. Declarations don't work and neither do fuzzy notions. And despite what you may have been told in grade school there is no, "permanent record." So dig in and get ready to make some decisions!

To build your credibility in your organization, start with these ideas.

#1 - No More Absolute Statements
Absolute statements are ones which are all encompassing. They are black and white or polar opposites. Words such as "always", "never", "everything" and "nothing" are key indications of absolute statements. Using language like this ensure one thing only - you have a 50% chance of being wrong. Which is to say you have a 50% chance of looking stupid. Or a 50% chance of loosing credibility. You choose. Unless you are 100% sure, stay away use absolute statements.

#2 - No More Non-Committal Responses
Worse than over committing to an answer is making no commitment at all. Using terms like, "maybe", "probably" or "I'll try" really say only one thing; you are unable to make decisions. People in charge make sure everyone knows how the feel about matters by making declarative statements. There is no ambiguity. For example, while I like the quote from Master Yoda, "There is No try, Only Do" I think it is used far too often by motivational types. But it fits here. I have declared my feelings, used the phrase, and moved forward. And wasn't that pretty clear?

If you have other tips to share, I'd love to hear them!

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