Watching What We Say

While it is improbable to think one will go through life without ever offending someone, here are some faux-paus to actively avoid and the reasons why one should avoid them.

Don’t every tell a peer that they “look tired”. The imagery evoked by this comment is not flattering. Tired persons have darkened rings about the eyes, unkempt hair and maybe disheveled clothes. They cannot concentrate and are probably grumpy. If you are concerned about a peer just ask if they are OK. While asking if someone looks tired is usually meant to be helpful, it can often be misunderstood as a slight. Likewise, saying someone has lost a ton of weight implies they were fat to begin with, instead just tell your peer the look good without commenting on their previous appearance.

Sometimes slight rephrasings of comments meant in support of a colleague can totally change the interpreted meaning. If someone ends a romantic relationship, don’t ever tell your peer they were to good for them. This may be misconstrued as meaning the peer has poor taste in romantic partners. “Their loss” implies no criticism.

If you do need to criticize someone—hopefully in a helpful way—don’t ever tell a person that they “always” or “never” do something. In the real-world absolutes aren’t really factual. No person always or never does something. Often or frequently or another synonym implies a habit and habits can be changed where as absolutes feel written in stone.

Hopefully these tips will get you thinking about other common sayings and phrasings that might get misinterpreted.

How to Act Like a Leader When You Aren’t in Charge

When traveling the road of life, we won’t always be the one in charge or be put into a labeled leadership role; however, that doesn’t mean that exemplifying leadership qualities isn’t important. So, how can one act like a leader when they aren’t leading?

First always be a clear communicator. Leaders don’t talk behind people’s backs, they don’t complain behind closed doors. They never say yes when they mean no. Leaders speak what they believe and they stick to their guns, unless presented with good reasons to change their outlook. Good leaders are always flexible as well. Teams function best when everyone is giving an opportunity to be a specialist. Let the other team members shine when it comes to what they are best at. Weigh your teammate’s abilities and perspectives equally.

Another two-sided coin of demonstrating your leader-like qualities is to not let people walk all over you. Make your voice heard. Don’t be afraid to help someone, but don’t let them take advantage of you either. The best leaders bring others with them on their ride towards success—this is how success works share it, but take your credit when it’s due. Likewise, if something is your mistake, don’t be afraid to own! If you are under a good leader, they will understand, and the team will be there to help make the best of the situation. When you are acting like a leader, a mistake must be owned by the person who made it, but the team will want to help them.

Finally, don’t put up with bullies—whether it is someone trying to dominate a conversation or marginalize a co-worker, stand up for what is right. You’ll be surprised how quickly most people are to rally behind the morally-upstanding person who speaks out first.

James C. Humes: The Man Behind the Words of Five Presidents

“Every time you have to speak, you are auditioning for leadership.”

James C. Humes is most famously known as a presidential speechwriter. He has served as a communications advisor to major U.S. corporations, including IBM and DuPont. He is the author of twenty-three other books.

Humes wrote speeches for presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Gerald Ford, and Dwight Eisenhower. Before his speechwriting career, he represented the U.S. State Department in lectures on American government all over the world. He has served as a communications advisor to major U.S. corporations, including IBM and DuPont. Mr. Humes is a well known author, most famously for Confessions of a White House Ghost Writer (Regnery Publishing) and the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Churchill: Speaker of the Century.

One of the last living Americans to have met Sir Winston Churchill in person, Mr. Humes has played Sir Churchill on stage and at numerous events. Mr. Humes lives in Pueblo, Colorado.

As James Humes once said, “The art of communication is the language of leadership.” If you want to be a leader, you must be a presenter that connects with the audience and delivers a memorable message.

Leadership Styles

The Globe and Mail did a study on the leadership styles of Trump vs Clinton. The Victor crew is not endorsing any candidate but thought this was an interesting study between these two.

Here is a short synopsis:

Clinton: tough; resilient; much planning and research; extensive contacts and network of influencers; scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours attitude; methodical; competitive.
Trump: strong; tough; demanding; bottom-line show-me-results attitude; get the job done; focused; direct and decisive; action over planning; uses whatever is available to achieve the goal; competitive.

Management Style
Clinton: demanding of her staff; needs details; delegates execution, but not strategy; surrounds herself with experienced and influential people; while trusting, she demands loyalty and dedication.
Trump: big-picture management; tells what he wants achieved, shows the resources, now do it; delegates execution and strategy, then waits for results; surrounds with hand-picked people for their qualifications, but are there for their record and ability to get things done; you need to earn his trust.

Clinton: research-and-planning managager uses her advisors and network to decide; decides by consensus, reserving her rights to change; takes time to decide with confirmation from her advisors.
Trump: No problem with decision-making; seeks advice since he knows he has no political experience, but goes with his gut feeling.

Clinton: bases negotiations on facts and figures with help of aides and assistants; staff helps from beginning to end; stability and previous decisions are key; focus is long-term
Trump: does his homework through staff research and intelligence gathering, but takes charge of negotiations; staff prepares him, he closes the deal; will celebrate a win with the team but wants to win and move on; long-term important but short-term is priority.

Clinton: careful with words; prioritizes professionalism and showing she’s in command; hides emotions in public; stress builds over time and bursts out in private.
Trump: direct, tells-it-like-it-is, focus on the heart of the matter; alienates people with his style and choice of words; behind closed doors he is respectful and will compromise to achieve objectives; emotions are not hidden; pressure doesn’t build because he releases both publicly and privately.

Read the full article.

Leadership Competencies

The Victor crew found an article about Leadership Competencies According to Leaders Around the world. The author asks the question,”What makes an effective leader?” In his first round of the study of 195 leaders in 15 countries, he looked for answers to this question.

In his survey, he asked the participants to rate 74 qualities. He grouped them into five themes and found what rose to the top.
The themes were:
Strong ethics & safety: this theme combined to bring a sense of safety
Self-organizing: this had to do with allowing employees to organize their own time and work
Efficient learning: leaders should encourage learning, allowing trial and error
Nurtures growth: Helping to grow into a next-generation leader and providing opportunities for training
Connection and belonging: create a feeling of succeeding and failing together builds a strong foundation

You can read the full article here: