Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Everybody, Nobody, Always, and Never

"Why does everybody screw this up?"

"Nobody every gets this right!"

"They always find a way not to perform!"

"He never does what he's supposed to!"

Ever heard these words used over and over and over again? Of all the words I encounter, these are some of my least favorite. They demotivate, demean, and disrespect people. It doesn't matter where or what the situation is, use of these words will often cause people to stop listening to the conversation, especially when they know that, against heavily stacked odds, they did their best.

These are manager words. These are NOT leader words. For one, they omit the "we" factor. Leaders speak in terms of "we," not "they." Leaders speak of "us," not "he" or "you." Leaders take responsibility for everything that does or does not happen on their watch. Managers blame whoever happened to be on-site when the problems occur and seek to explain why someone else failed instead of why the team, including the leader, failed.

Leadership is challenging. It involves a level of service that many managers do not understand. Being a manager is not being a leader. These are two totally different concepts. We all, at one time or another, leader or manager, use the words above. It's hard to avoid them sometimes. It doesn't make us right when we do.

Avoid the absolutes and deal with each problem as unique and governed by its own set of circumstances, players, causes, and solutions. Only then can you hope to motivate and inspire instead of crush, chomp, and destroy.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Just remember, when people see a mirage in the desert, they don't drink the sand because they are thirsty, they drink it because they don't know the difference. Running a business is like running a sports team. Not doing well in the standings? Get rid of the players who don't perform, coach the ones who have poetential, and praise and support the ones who can help lead the team to victory. Either that or publically humiliate everyone hoping it will make them perform. The chain is only as strong as the weakest link.