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Tie opinions to facts

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Managing people is all about credibility. If they respect you as a well-informed, judicious authority, they will follow your lead and heed your directives.

Some managers assume that their position as The Boss automatically confers credibility. Yet employees can view their supervisors as impostors who lack leadership traits.

One of the surest ways to lose credibility is to make decisions in the absence of facts--and allow your workers to do the same. Just because it's trendy to "follow your gut" doesn't mean that instinct or impulse should supplant informed judgment.

When debating a course of action with your peers and subordinates, avoid starting your sentence with, "I think," "My hunch is" or "It seems to me that" Instead, cite your support upfront by saying, "The data indicates," "According to the latest research" or "There's ample evidence that" If you tend to state your opinion by opening with "I think" or "In my view," that's permissible as long as you stipulate what it's based on. Example: "In my judgment, this investment poses too much risk and too little reward. That's based on my experience with similar investments and our last two quarterly reports of weakening sales."

When your employees share their unfounded opinions, don't scold them. Politely ask, "What do you base that on?" Encourage them to amass facts and reasons to strengthen their case. If you really want to make a powerful impression on them, admit that they've changed your mind--that their analysis is more logical or well-supported than yours. News will spread that you care far more about what is right than who is right. Your credibility will soar as a result.

Better yet, take every opportunity to confirm facts and check for accuracy. Ask staffers to audit the data gathering process so that you know you're getting valid information.

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