Repeating things establishes them. Great leaders repeat things that take others and themselves higher. Great leaders are repeaters.
On the Negative
Repeating office gossip makes it seem true even if it isn’t.
Remember the goal of office gossips is relationship destruction. They drive others lower.
On the Positive
Creatively repeating the right things lifts others higher.
To your spouse – repeat I love you.
To your superiors – repeat I’ll make the most of this opportunity.
To your colleagues – repeat how can I help?
To your children – repeat you really tried hard.
To your friends – repeat you encourage me.
To someone with an idea – repeat tell me more.
To your followers – repeat our vision is …
The point of this post isn’t simply encouraging you to say positive things.
The point is to repeat the right things because repeating establishes. Repeating makes things real. Politicians and marketers know this and so should everyone else.
Let me repeat myself, repeating establishes things.
Effective repeating isn’t boring, it’s dynamic. Repeat key phrases. Repeat stories and illustrations. Repeat foundational ideas. Repeat…repeat…repeat.
Repeat in new ways.
Before repeating, begin by asking, “What do I want to establish?”
Even though there is value in repeating things, if you are 4’ 6”, you’ll never play professional basketball. I don’t care how many times you repeat, “I’m a professional basket ball player.” I’m not talking about self-hypnosis.
Rote repetition isn’t helpful. Even if you are sincere, it seems insincere.
I’m talking about repeating true things – in creative ways – to others in order to lift higher rather than drive lower.
What are some of the worst things leaders can repeat?
What things should be repeated?
What creative techniques can you suggest for effective, sincere repetition?
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I was shown how important a “strength-centered compliment” is. Not an empty compliment, but one centered around an observable characteristic or ability. Well-timed, this can be powerful.
Thanks Scott. I appreciate how you qualify and explain a good compliment.
I agree that repeating things influence you. Repeating positive things influence positive and vice versa. Repeating challenging goal increase your passion and energy and opposite is true in the same way. So, repeating is a force that motivates you either positively or negatively. But when it motivates you negatively, you start blaming and finding faults with others. It also breeds politics and a lot of back stabbing in the organization. It creates a culture of self safety, self security by criticizing others when repeating motivates negatively.
Some of the worst things leaders can repeat is criticizing others. When leaders do that, people automatically follow that because they feel themselves safe in doing that. They also think that his superior like that and they start pleasing their boss by criticizing others. Actually criticism is double edged knife. If damages person and organization both. And it protects incompetent, incapable and dishonest people.
Things that motivate, integrate and increase commitment should be repeated. Vision, strategy, performance, reward, recognition like words should be repeated. Person with good idea, strategy, ethical values should be repeated. Appreciation, achievement, and success should be repeated.
The technique for effective and sincere repetition is to create cultural transparency based on trust and accountability. Transparency at three levels should be encouraged. They are- leader transparency, organization transparency and people transparency.
Thank you for expanding this conversation into the great danger of repeating criticism. You really added value.
Additionally, your suggestion to create cultural transparency based on trust and accountability, is a power packed sentence. In order to repeat the right things one must see the right things.
You opened my eyes to a couple great ideas.
Ajay is a featured contributor on Leadership Freak. I respect the time and effort he puts forth to enhance the conversation. Read about him at: http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/ajay-gupta
Thank you for highlighting this important point. I’ve spoken with several leaders who seem to think if they’ve said it once, that’s that (“I already told them, why should I have to tell them again?”).
Conversely, the best leaders I’ve ever served or observed always use repetition to let people know what is most important.
They repeat it by highlighting it through stories and examples.
They repeat it by asking how what people are doing aligns to it.
They repeat it by referencing it when talking about what they themselves are spending their time on.
This aligns nicely with yesterday’s post – Missions, Visions, and Values often become “cliche” because they are mentioned once and then forgotten.
As a Ajay has mentioned, repeating the positive influences and vice versa. I always find repeating things worth it if it allows me to make two steps forward. On the contrary, if repeating things makes me to go one or two step backwards, I will go back to the drawing board.
Worst leaders will always repeat claim of all praise of good work achieved even if it was due to team effort.
Good leaders will always repeat encouraging their subordinates and travel the same journey with them. Instead of constantly blaming others, they will lead and create a path to follow and making sure the sheep are being steered in the right direction.
Dan – terrific post. I’ve never seen a discussion of Leadership & Repetition. This is a bedrock skill of marketers: craft the right message, then don’t deviate.
Part of the confusion of our splintered media environment is that brands try to have multiple micro-messages. Can be effective, or can be confusing, depending on many factors.
I recommend keeping it simple. Stay on message. Repeat often.
Thanks for your encouraging words and input from a marketing perspective.
I’ll add that I think repeating vision (over and over) is among the most important behaviors of leaders.
I wish you the best,
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Great subject like always.
-What things should be repeated?
In my opinion:talking hear about leaders-we must repeat : We are here to get results, let make things happen! AND important is to show appreciation to each of the member of the team, not only in words, but in his, or her behavior.
Why I say this, is because I believe in *We learn by doing. – Aristotle
All the best,
Love how you bring the conversation down to concrete behaviors and measurables. I think effective leaders constantly push through ambiguities to concrete measurable realities. It’s not easy but I think it can become an essential leadership habit.
Thanks for your comment!
In the safety arena, leaders must often repeat their commitment to the safety of their employees. The double edged sword comes when the leader is all talk and no action.
Gossip is the natural state of human interaction. Unfortunately, negative gossip repeated enough times begins to take on a life of it’s own to the point it becomes a “Truism.” Leaders need to be aware of this type of activity and respond to it, because to ignore it can be fatal to a business. Wonder how many signals Tony Hayward ignored before the Deepwater Horizon disaster?
Thanks for expanding this discussion into your world of safety. This type of repetition may not be viewed as vision casting but I think it’s a component. Pursing mission and vision happens in a safe environment.
Jim is a featured contributor on Leadership Freak. His brief comment here is another example of how our conversation is enriched and expanded through diversity. Read about Jim at http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/james-leemann
What creative techniques can you suggest for effective, sincere repetition?
This post asks a question that seems easy on the surface but really challenges leaders. Perhaps one pathway of creativity could be that a leader encourages others in the circle of the person who is the subject of positive things to repeat the positive statement (or similar), so that the subject is aware of the amplification of the positivity. I am a member of an online community called http://www.dailymile.com, which is essentially a “Facebook for athletes.” There are only so many ways that your DailyMile friends can say “way to go” or “great run” or “you fought hard,” especially since many of us don’t know each other personally, but when 15 (different) smiling faces are staring out from your screen, all saying pretty much “great run” it is still even that much more powerful than if one person alone had said it.
Your great comment made me think about how leaders must work through others… In the context a great leader is developing a team of repeaters.
Best to you in your running,
Paula is a featured blogger on Leadership Freak. Once again the conversation is enriched through the diversity she brings. Read about her at: http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/paula-kiger
I’m reminded by your post of my former law school Dean Jeff Lehman’s appreciation of the Reading Room at the University of Michigan (see tour http://www.law.umich.edu/virtualtour/documents/legalresearch/reading-room.htm ). He commented once that, as in Baroque music (think Handel’s “Messiah” and it’s magnificent Hallelujah Chorus), the repeating columns and structures in the reading room created a wonderful space with a powerful visual impact. So too our saying something again and again can create a good dynamic.
I hadn’t thought of using music and architecture as an illustration of the power of repetition. Wonderful! Great call!
Best to you,