Avoid the bad habit of adopting negative terms to persuade people to do what you want. To encourage an employee to check back with you after you delegate an assignment, say, “Please call me whenever you have questions,” rather than, “Please don’t hesitate to call me.” If you agree with what you hear, say so. Avoid double negatives such as, “I don’t disagree.” Speak affirmatively and you reinforce your confident.
Respond to complaints with wise questions.
When employees bellyache about a problem, listen without interrupting. When it’s time to reply, ask, “What are you planning to do about it?” That’s a far better response than, “What would you like me to do about it?”
Shifting the focus so that they spring into action shows that you expect them to take responsibility for problem solving. That saves you from taking the monkey on your back.
Audit the accuracy of the data that you rely on.
The truth is in the numbers … maybe. In December, confirm that the spreadsheets and other data that you use most often are correct. Scrutinize the figures in search of reporting errors.
Measure a sampling or inspect results firsthand to get a sense of whether the broader conclusions you draw are based on accurate information. Ask your colleagues to run their own tests as well and compare the results.