Silence your know-it-all spiel

It’s easy to feel like an impostor who’s pretending to know more than you do. That can lead you to talk too much and lose touch with your team.

You may indulge in long-winded explanations to impress others. Or you may figure the more you talk, the less you need to listen to employees’ complaints or concerns.

To avoid talking at (rather than with) others, beware of these traps:

“Let me tell you what’s best.” Insisting that you know the right course of action—and others don’t—can backfire. You can share a litany of reasons why people should heed your advice, but they may still have lingering questions or doubts. Plus, they think they know what’s best—not you.

“Let me share a war story.” Launching into detailed anecdotes from your past may bring you pleasure. But it can leave those around you in pain.

They may not want to hear about your glorious battles—and how you heroically overcame the odds to persevere. Indeed, they may roll their eyes when you’re not looking.

What’s worse, they may feel that you’re overlooking their past in favor of tooting your own horn.

“Let me explain.” It’s fine to explain your reasoning. Just don’t overdo it. Dissecting every aspect of a decision you’ve made can deaden your employees’ drive to excel.

“I’ll listen—and then tell you what I was going to tell you anyway.” People see through someone who solicits their opinion, only to respond with a prepared speech on next steps. The act of listening was a ruse; when employees realize that, their cynicism soars.

—Adapted from “Stop Managersplaining—Do These 10 Things Instead,” Scott Mabry,