Dear Dan: How Can I Shut My Trap

Dear Dan,

I lead a team of high capacity leaders and we all serve a recovering benevolent dictator, who himself is a dynamic catalyst and the reason for our organization’s growth.

Anyway, I find myself desiring to squash “bad” ideas that come from the team.

I try to hold back dismissal but I believe the idea is going to hit a brick wall or die on the vine.

So, because our team is so open with each other they recognize (I have shared) my “interruptive” nature. They’ve learned to say, “I need to finish.”

But I want to end this behavior. Do you have tips or links to past blogs on how I can just shut my trap and stop interrupting when I don’t like what I am hearing?

I seem to mount a thousand objections before hearing a complete story.


Constantly Interrupting

Dear Constantly,

It seems like you’re on the path to shutting your trap. Keep going!

I wonder if keeping notes would help? Try writing down your thoughts before you speak. Recording your thoughts might let your brain know that you’re paying attention.

You might excuse yourself from meetings. Set the agenda, ask someone else to run the meeting, and leave. Return at the end to learn the decisions and ask how you can help.

How about a ‘shut your trap’ timer? After you start the discussion, set a timer for three minutes. All you can do is nod and smile.

If you must open your trap, ask two questions before making any statements. 

  1. Tell me more.
  2. What other options come to mind?

Could you assign other team members to present ideas to the CEO?

Bonus: Slow your brain by giving two reasons how something might work, before explaining why it won’t.

You have my best,


What suggestions do you have for Constantly Interrupting?