How to Spiral Up Not Down
Repetition forms patterns. Patterns define the future.
Successful leaders are repeaters.
- Gossip. Repeated words seem truer, even when they’re not. Gossip weakens relationships.
- Criticism. Disapproval is more powerful than approval. Repeated criticism is a sledgehammer. Repeating criticism means:
- You’re an ineffective leader.
- What you’re doing isn’t working. Change strategies.
- It’s time to move people to different roles.
- A new system or higher accountability may be appropriate.
- Teammates need development.
- Someone needs to go.
- Complaints. Grumblers lead apprehensive teams. Complaints without solutions drain energy, stifle creativity, and solidify the status quo.
Repeat what matters not what’s wrong.
Create repeat-worthy phrases by adding:
Repeat things that take others higher.
- You have more in you.
- I respect ….
- How may I help?
- What’s next? (My personal favorite.)
- I’m making the most of this opportunity.
- Thanks for the extra effort.
- Tell me more.
- Dynamic not boring.
- Direction making.
- Environment creating.
Repeat things that solve, rather than validate, problems.
In large part, organizations follow the words leaders repeat.
What words are best used sparingly?
What words or phrases take leaders where they want to go?
Great quotes: ‘Repeat what matters not what’s wrong.’ And ‘Repeat things that take others higher.’ I guess my caveat for the second one particularly is that the ‘things that take other higher’ is not always (ever???) obvious. I’d guess it’s rarely if ever procedure outlines unless accompanied by ‘What needs to be revised?’ I’m reminded of Albert Einstein’s quote: ‘We can’t expected to solve today’s problems with the same tools used when they were created.’
Thanks John. What takes others higher isn’t always obvious. You got that right. It takes time, knowledge, and a few false starts to hit on the trigger that works for someone.
Dan, I believe successful leaders do three things that they repeat over and over again: 1) They “articulate effectively” with staff about how significant the staff is, and they portray well the short-term and big picture of the organizational goal; 2) Leaders always exhibit a “confident behavior” that promotes strength, courage and pride in peak performance; and 3) Leaders regularly “share” organizational ups and downs with staff members to empower them with performance ownership.
This kind of leader has a philosophy that claims: Set goals large enough we cannot achieve them, yet we grow and become the persons who can. Also, we win some, and some get rained out… but “we gotta suit up for them all.”
And his staff’s cry is: Grant us, boss, time to learn, patience to hear, clarity to see, respect to perform, goodness to be faithful; Then, declare what you will, command what you will, demand what you will.
Everyone spirals upward together.
Two phrases that I hate saying “It’s hard” and “I can’t”. Nothing in life is easy. You have to push yourself and at least try.
Important insights, Dan- words really do matter.
Words that encourage, and seek to explore, assess, enquire, improve… are helpful and can catalyze growth.
Words that judge, and seek to find fault, criticize, insult, globalize and generalize mistakes or problems … are not helpful and can undermine and thwart growth.
Thanks for shedding light on the important impact a leader’s words can have in either inspiring and encouraging, or stifling growth.
In order to win you need to focus on W.I.N. What Is Next.
I love this quote: “Repeat things that solve, rather than validate, problems.” and also believe that repeating values and purpose keeps people focused on what matters and helps them find the actions and behaviours to keep the purpose alive.
My all time favourite repeat worthy phrases are: I believe in you. I’m proud of you. Thank you.
Some of my favourite repeat worthy questions are: What is our part? What else can we do (to move ourselves or the situation forward)?
I love your repeat-worthy phrases! Great ways to build momentum and cooperation. Borrowing from improv, I like to repeat, “Yes, And…” as well. It ensures people feel heard and validates the worth of all contributions.