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Say what you mean; mean what you say

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

There are times when team leaders everywhere feel tempted to promise more than they can deliver. After all, that’s quite easy to do and it gives you the appearance that you are filled with solutions that can placate everyone.

For example, imagine one of your team members asking at the last minute to get out of working overtime because there’s something else he wants or needs to do.

In the interest of keeping everyone motivated, happy and productive, it’s tempting to say something like, “Work these extra hours for me tonight, Paul, and I’ll get someone else to cover the work next time.”

But if “next time” comes and you can’t deliver on your promise, your credibility will go out the window—along with Paul’s trust.

That’s why it’s better to be honest and say something more like: “It’s too late for me to find someone else for tonight Paul. So I need you to work this extra half-shift. If you can’t or don’t want to work the next overtime, let me know at least a few days in advance so we can try to find someone to  work it for you.”

Paul may be disappointed not to get what he wants today, but if you consistently say what you mean and stick by what you say, Paul and all your other team members will trust you and give you their loyalty day in and day out.

Sure there’s a good point in the old buzz, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”

But when you’re leading a team, nothing is more important than what you say, and how that matches up with what you do.

You’ve got to talk a walk you can walk.

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