Forgetting to Get Personal
There are times to talk about business and times to talk about life. Know the difference and you’ll experience the true magic of connection.
Speaking “at” Instead of “with” Others
Self-confidence is a requirement as a leader, but unfortunately, it can often translate to not having truly authentic conversations with people.
Thinking of Your Response Before People Finish Speaking
As leaders, we tend to run through conversations and seek solutions while others are speaking. This might be an expeditious way to go through conversations quickly, but it’s not a method that allows the speaker to feel they are being heard.
Using Body Language That Contradicts Your Words
Many leaders don’t watch their body language, which might be standoffish. For example, a leader might ask for honest feedback, but a puffed out chest with arms crossed won’t be conducive to getting honest feedback.
Avoiding Eye Contact
Being present and keeping eye contact with your clients, staff or vendors is always more important than the email you need to write or phone call you need to return. Your present mind is the most valuable asset you have.
Racing to the End
When you’re under extreme time pressure and surrounded by smart people, it’s easy to race to conclusions. Leaders need to stop “racing to the end” of a conversation and be present in the moment.
Speaking From a Script
Leaders often have canned responses meant to ensure quick and consistent messaging. However, giving the same spiel to an employee as you would a journalist is a mistake.
Being Accommodating Rather Than Honest
When leaders let being agreeable and accommodating get in the way of what they really need to say, they become less effective. Being direct, to-the-point and honest is the most effective conversational strategy for leaders.
Some of the best ideas are uncovered by sharing unique expertise and individual insights, but you have to let the person speaking finish their thought if you want to have a real conversation.
Saying “I” Instead of “We”
Being a leader is about representing your team. By that very nature, you should be speaking on behalf of your team, not yourself. This will show that you value your team and that it’s your company’s collective opinion, rather than your personal opinion.
Jargon has its place, but ideas can be communicated simply, concisely and elegantly. There’s no need to litter your conversation with clichéd, inelegant and meaningless verbiage that hinders understanding and clear communication.
Asking Team Members If They “Understand”
Asking team members if they “understand” what you’re trying to communicate can be effective if communicating a new idea, but asking them if they understand what are normal, everyday tasks can come off as patronizing at best and condescending at worst.
The law of attraction is always at work and one negative complaint can quickly spiral downward. Complaints do not solve problems; cooperation does.
Let’s brainstorm “Leadership Mistakes” in your organization.