When to Bring it Up – When to Let it Go
Leaders who bring up every little failure, issue, or shortcoming are irritating nags. They can’t let it go.
When you blab on about trivialities, talented people want to pull their hair out. Or they want to grab yours.
Let it go:
Leaders who dig into small issues waste their talent on trivialities.
- Mind your business.
- Insecurity expresses itself as a need to know everything.
- Arrogance makes you believe you can fix people.
- Meddling inspires apprehension – apprehension slows progress.
- Establish priorities. Leaders without priorities chase rabbits and discourage teams. The only way to let go of insignificant behaviors is to do what matters now. You aren’t worthy to lead until you know what matters now.
- Lean toward silence with a smile. Most extroverted leaders talk too much. The only thing worse than an excited extrovert is a cloistered introvert. At least you know what the extrovert thinks. Both create anxiety.
- Establish reporting only where issues matter.
- Protect your headspace. On a scale of 1-10, how much does this issue matter? Let others worry about 6’s or 7’s.
Bring it up if:
- The failure is about character. Being on time doesn’t take a high IQ.
- You expect others to take action. Stop expressing opinions. Are you simply blabbing on because you’re in love with your own voice, or do you expect something to change?
- You hear excuses, rather than responsibility.
- It’s a pattern. Once is fine – three times, it’s time to talk.
- Others fall below their capabilities.
- What are their strengths?
- Are they able?
- How much improvement is possible?
- They aspire to be better? Don’t pour yourself into those who don’t care.
- You can adjust their role away from failure or weakness.
Bonus: Bring it up, if they’re working to improve, but persistently frustrated.
When is it best to not bring it up?
How do you determine when to bring it up?
Aw, man, I always thought being an excitable extrovert was one of my strengths 😉 I am working on listening better though
Thanks Emily. Your comment made me chuckle because I completely identify. Best for the journey.
That is exactly what I was thinking Emily!
Great words of inspiration and clarity! Exactly what I’ve been dealing with today! Thanks much!
Thanks Barbie. Welcome to the crowd. Deciding what to let go and what to bring up is a constant battle in my mind. I want to bring up too many things.
Dan, our team reads your blogs daily. Many, many, many times, we think you have been hiding in our closet listening to all our challenges! Your wisdom and insight is making a great impact! Thank you for using your gifts to build into others. We very much appreciate you Dan!
Thanks Jerry. It’s so great to be part of your team’s journey. It seems that many of us face similar challenges. 🙂 Thank you for your kind encouragement.
Nice Dan, Timely and insightful. Probably another 300 blog posts could roll off this one. “Others fall below their capabilities….” . Indeed.
Have a great Friday. Richard
Thanks Richard. I must confess that I deleted a lot of stuff before this one went to press. 🙂
I’m glad you dropped in. Have a great weekend.
Your bullet #6 is one that is key. “They aspire to be better? Don’t pour yourself into those who don’t care.” Request for another day – How to work with those that don’t care……. Certainly the nature of their role is a vital part of that discussion. If they are in a key role and don’t care and are not willing to care, they need to be given the freedom to fly onward.
Thanks rpope. I don’t think we should give up on people who don’t care. However, we shouldn’t pour ourselves into them either.
Great topic: How to work with people who don’t care. The easy answer is, as you suggest, help them flu onward. However, sometimes it’s not an option. Perhaps you don’t have authority to encourage them to fly. It’s a tough one.
I agree! A long time ago I realized that as a teacher, the most frustrating learners (students, residents) were not the ones who struggled, rather the ones who did not care. I spent extra time with the former, and gave the latter the day off. These days I have matured and am more likely to at least make one attempt to address what I perceive to be apathy or indifference. Because that they don’t care may be just the story I’m making up. I can’t know the truth unless I at least try to ask.
I agree with your advice! As an introvert, I make sure to speak my mind in team meetings and discussions. I wish introverts and extroverts could find a better balance between listening and speaking with intentions!
Thanks Amy. I was a bit concerned that my comments re: extrovert/introverts might offend. I’m glad they didn’t. My challenge has been chilling out and pulling back. 🙂 A little balance goes a long way.
I’d love to hear more from the introvert and extrovert perspective. A topic well worth exploring. Susan Cain – ted talk and book ‘Quiet’ are a good place to start
Super post – two points really spoke to me – the issue of character and how to know when to let something go
Thanks Victoria. Good news for many of the things we face in organizational life is they often have nothing to do with skill. They are all about character and anyone, regardless of skill can display character. 🙂
Dan, very thought provoking!!! Thanks, Howie
Dan, your article is insightful and very much applicable in business, career and personal life. I guess it all boils down to emotional intelligence. Taking a subtle hint is a worthwhile sensitivity to hone.
Thanks Ed. Research shows that EI is more important than IQ as long as you have reasonable intelligence.
I’m really trying hard to work on the high fruit items. It’s really hard as I have always been trying not one thing slide.
This is an important topic, especially for new leaders. When I was first promoted to supervisor 7 years ago, I would address trivial things or bigger things without taking the time to simmer and plan how to address them. Those mistakes are difficult to come back and overcome. Because of them, however, I am able to “pick my battles” much better. I have seen newer supervisors fall into the same trap and I try to counsel them with the stories of my experiences.
Thanks Chris. Pick your battles. BooYah!
People of action take action without thinking. Good call.
Awesome post Dan. So many good nuggets of information in this one. I will definitely share this one with my management team tomorrow. I am definitely the introverted leader, and I have worked really hard to express my frustrations in a way that builds up my team. That can still be hard, but a key for me is to gather my thoughts and expectations clearly, and address the topic(s) quickly. And always with a heart to build up my team members. Thank you!
Powerful post. And……I’m pretty sure I overspoke this past week. After reading your post, I’m reflecting that I wasn’t pushing to make change, I was trying to get my opinion heard.
Now what? Apologies in order? Or just listen really well next time?