Simple Choices Give Direction to Your Leadership
Responding to unforeseen events is part of your day. But if all you do is bounce from one issue to the next:
- You’re a problem-solver. The better part of leadership is seizing opportunities.
- You’re an answer-giver. The better part of leadership is developing people who find answers without you.
Pinball leaders don’t know where they’re going. When you don’t know where you’re going, the path is disappointing. Urgencies replace priorities. Eventually, leadership is filled with trivialities.
A leader with direction rises above pinball leadership.
Make simple choices that give direction to your leadership.
Give direction to your leadership by intentionally choosing words that reflect the priorities of your leadership.
Skillful leaders respect the power of words.
The right words at the right time become the difference between progress and frustration.
#1. Reject words that minimize people or challenges. For example, don’t say to a struggling manager,
- It’s easy.
- It’s not that bad.
- Don’t worry. Telling a worried person not to worry intensifies frustration and gives the impression that you’re out of touch.
#2. Choose words that strengthen connection.
- I screwed up. (The Culture Code) Vulnerability enables high candor relationships.
- I’m counting on you.
- You earned this opportunity because…. Instill confidence in people if you expect them to act boldly.
#3. Choose words to repeat.
- Thank you.
- I appreciate (character trait) about you.
#4. Choose last words intentionally.
Last words express first priorities.
- What do you say at the end of meetings or one-on-ones?
- What do you say at the end of the day?
Making simple choices – even when pressured by urgencies – gives direction to your leadership.
How might leaders navigate the pinball challenge?
What words hinder effective leadership? Enable effective leadership?
How to Focus on What’s Important, Not Just What’s Urgent (HBR)
9 Things Great Leaders Say Every Day (Inc)
How might leaders navigate the pinball challenge? Take control of the plan for the day, deviation disrupts the path for everyone involved, sometimes we have no choice in changes from an unforeseen aspect, yet if we stay the course we can get things accomplished.
What words hinder effective leadership? Can’t, won’t, you. Ex. We can’t get there because you delayed the start and we won’t help you!
Enable effective leadership? Can, will and we. Ex. We have a Team that will be on site and can get things done in a timely fashion.
Thanks Tim. The idea of “we” speaks to me today. Much appreciated.
Well said, Dan! We often marvel at pinball wizards who seem to flourish in a frenzy of activity, but a focused leader and empathetic mentor who fits your description delivers consistent results and develops the skills, talents, confidence and leadership needed for continued success. A leader with direction rises above pinball leadership, indeed!
This really got my brain going this morning. I’ve been thinking about the discipline of good delegation to “cure” the pinball leader. Delegation too often gets interpreted and communicated as “do this,” when it really is an opportunity to transfer ownership for a result. This takes more time and focus, AND great delegation empowers others, builds capabilities and means the delegator is a resource, not the answer machine.