Leaders, Let’s Not Lead Back to the Future
by Kate Nasser |
As leaders, how we say things impacts both results and future interactions. If our words are future focused, we lead to the future. We inspire a learning culture.
When our words take employees back to the past, we create a guarded blaming culture and lead nowhere.
“I would have thought we would have …”
or “we should have …”
are blaming statements badly disguised as “we’re all in this together”.
Let’s Not Lead Back to the Future
Short Story. A recently promoted director of customer satisfaction, walked up to his former boss at the end of a training program that she helped design and said “I would have thought we would have approached this subject in another way.” He had provided no input during the development of the training program yet spoke with derision. Those around just stared at him. What was his goal?
Lesson. If we want to lead forward, let’s use forward focused words. “Going forward, I suggest xyz in phase II.” In this approach, the director would be contributing and leading forward, not back, to the future — like a know-it-all nit!
To do this, it helps to …
- Want to encourage others instead of correcting others.
- Consider that there are different views not just one view.
- Believe that we don’t ever have the perfect answer.
- Assess the emotional needs of others when trying to achieve results with them.
The newly promoted director, in the story above, is a Six Sigma Black Belt. His focus is to find root causes of customer satisfaction problems and improve them.
Root cause analysis is extremely valuable especially when it spawns future improvements. Whereas, black belting people about what they should have done leaves scars that impact future interactions and results.
Leading people back to the future with criticism demoralizes them with a blaming culture. Leading them forward — to the next times with lessons and insight — breeds commitment and outstanding future results.
Let us always remember that people-skills and emotional intelligence are just as important as vision, intellect, data, and drive in achieving the end results.
And the good news is, the words next time and going forward, are two no cost leadership phrases with dual power. They both inspire and deliver!
What do you think? Do words make a difference?
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers consulting, training, DVDs, and keynotes on customer service, teamwork, and leading change. She turns interaction obstacles into business success in tough times of change. See this site for workshop outlines and customer results.