Mistakes are unavoidable but we can avoid making “dumb decisions.” There are things that all people with different kinds of intelligence do to themselves that lead to these dumb decisions.
One classic mistake is overthinking. Intelligent people often make the mistake of over analysis. Especially as a leader we will have both external and internal pressure to make the right decision. More than like there is no way for us to turn down the external pressure, we can only control the pressure we put on ourselves.
No one will ever make the right decision always—so we must stop putting that pressure on ourselves. We will make mistakes, but we are prepared for that. Don’t over analyze your every move or you will paralyze your decision-making ability.
Something we can do to streamline decision making is to make small decisions and often. The further we put off making single, small decisions the more they grow into monsters pending on our to-do list. In business and often in life decisions have a due date. Keep up with the small ones to avoid to-do list full of monsters on down the line. Additionally, making a bad decision on a small matter is more fixable than the alternative.
Not making a decision is also a decision and getting caught in that feedback loop can be dangerous.
Any good writer will tell us that a single word can totally change the shade or tone of a sentence or passage. This is true of conversation as well. A single word can act on the subconscious of subordinates and peers alike and could change the level of confidence they have in your communication.
One of these words is “think” especially used in the phrase “I think.” But who doesn’t use the phrase “I think?” While it may sound as if you are taking possession of the idea with this short preface, but in reality when one says something like “I think I have a good idea” this will often lead the listener to believe that you are unsure of whether the idea is good or not, that you are still mulling it over.
In casual conversation, “I think I’ll have lunch with George,” it is essentially a throw away phrase. But you might want to drop this phrase from your professional lexicon.
Another trouble word is “need.” While it may seem to emphasis an obligation on the part of the subordinate or peer it can also come of as, well, needy. “I need this project finished by the due date” might make it sound as if you are dependent on the person or obligation.
Similar to “need” is “want” which can be taken as an emotional appeal rather than a statement of fact. “I want your reports to be of a higher quality” is not as definitive as “These reports need to be of a higher quality.” Or try “I want a raise because my work has been good” sounds emotional compared to “The quality of my work this year is worthy of a raise.”
Other words like “guess,” “hope,” and “suppose” all work in likewise fashions. Using “hope” can add an element of uncertainty or even doom. “Guess” and “suppose” both, again, could lend an element of uncertainty to an idea one is proposing.
History has not been kind to leaders. Many we that we might claim to be successful (outside the context of our morals) were autocratic and aggressive: Lenin, Alexander the Great, Mao Tse Tung. And often the rewards of leadership are severe such as in the case of Ghandi, JFK or Lincoln.
So if we cannot look to history what does the modern leader look like?
For one, they should always themselves and their organization be looking toward the future. First and foremost, the leader needs to realize his role is never permanent. Look at the UK Football Champion ship s an example, managers often last less than a year one a single team.
A good leader is always building a succession of talent—really a leader’s job is to prepare the path forward and teach those who will one day lead.
But this isn’t just planning for the future. To paraphrase Steve Jobs, surround yourself with smart people and let them tell you what to do. Recognize these people and allow them to move the organization forward while you facilitate their talent.
These smart people need the infrastructure provided by the organization and the ability of the leader to bring each expert together to solve problems and get projects done. They should see that current leadership is preparing future roles for them.
No good leader is stagnant in their ways and such a leader cannot expect their subordinates to grow if they themselves are not willing to grow. Whether it is quarterly, at the half year or annually leaders and anyone wanting to change themselves for the better can work on the follow list of To-Do’s for self-betterment.
Find some new role models to focus during the next cycle. These role models could somehow represent other goals in your list or the could be just be new faces who share your values. It is important to take on unfamiliar perspectives to expand our ability to understand all different kinds of people.
Decide on two good habits you want to develop. Also, choose one bad habit you want to rid yourself of. Let go of that which isn’t useful or productive and nurture your best self. Find happy mediums and moderation. Come up with one month’s worth of plans for activities that will help you normalize the good, new habits and break the bad ones. Small, but deliberate actions will help reach your habit changing goals.
No matter your time line for everything else, choose one new subject area you would like to learn about over the next year. Set reasonable goal to reach and out line the learning process as you imagine it. By always learning we make ourselves more complex and interesting as well as opening ourselves to new ways of thinking.
Make a list of new books you’ll read. Again, it is helpful to be realistic in your planning. You might choose titles that have something to do with you habit changing goals or your learning of a new subject if your plans are feeling a little overwhelming.
Keep it simple. Keep it realistic. Stick to your plan. Become a more interesting person.
Many leaders would love to reward their subordinates, however don’t have a budget.
Allowing staff a piece from home day will be a decent thanks to reward them.
If this doesn’t apply to your state of affairs specifically, figure out how to reward your team member by allowing them to work for a day on their own scheduling or location terms.
If you have got a codification, ease up on it.
It is not simply the school sector or alternative “young” businesses that have discovered that it’s quite absurd to faux we’d like special consumer goods to urge our work done in the business world. Ditch the white collars (at least on Fridays).
Find how to administer your team member a special project that suits their interest or below used ability set or realize another job-related chance to administer them.
Bring in one of the “big wigs” to have a sit down with your team and discuss the vision and future of the company and how they all fit into that picture. If you are the big wig (or not) you might consider bringing in a relevant outsider to lead your pow wow.
Take the time to put in writing associate degree honest and positive letter of advice for the team member. Talk to them regarding why you’d be happy to be a reference within the future, either for advancement within the organization or if they decide to move on.
The latter might be a part of often regular one-on-one sessions along with your teammates. Focus on the teammate’s needs and thoughts. Ask them questions. How can you help them?
Whatever you decide on to try and do, a straightforward gesture lightness the accomplishments and abilities of your staff once financial or material rewards aren’t associate degree possibility is that the best thanks to let them know they are appreciated.
The art of small talk can be boiled down to one simple piece of advice—ask the other person questions. Of course things are more complex than that, but by actively engaging the other person small talk will be much easier and more sincere.
First make sure you are covering the following three criteria—be authentic, make a sincere connection, choose a topic that gives a taste of who you are. But how does one accomplish this?
Avoid “news update” topics such as weather, sports and traffic.
Be aware of your surroundings. If you are in someone else’s space. Choose a unique object in the room to ask questions about. It could be a family photo or an unusual decoration. It is ok to share personal news as well, but make sure it is something that actually happened. The point is to be sincere. Invented niceties might momentarily fill the silence but won’t add up to a conversation.
Don’t be afraid to speak first.
Make eye contact and be aware of your facial expressions and body language. As in all conversations what your body says can be more revealing than what your mouth speaks.
Finally, just go for it. If you are authentic and speak with purpose you might find yourself in the middle of an interesting conversation.