Strong communication is not about the bluster, but the luster. As a leader, your everyday conversations should shine. Strong communicators don’t …
1. Pretend Their Power Belongs to Someone Else. You can’t be a winner and loser in the same game. By that, I’m referring to these victim statements: “My boss makes me so angry; I just freeze every time he walks by my desk.” Or: “My mother-in-law just ties me in knots. I can’t do anything to please her!” Or: “This customer drives me crazy with all the whining!” Only you have the power to think, feel, act, react, or behave as you do. You always have choices. Sure, there may be consequences to your choices. But if you can accept those consequences, then you are free to choose. You do not have to let someone else “make you” angry, stressed, or crazy.
2. Repeat Their Victory Laps. “I remember when . . . “ “Back in the day, ….” “Mike, Janet, Kevin—you three remember several years ago when we were working with so little budget and still we had one of the most successful events ever because …” Sure, you want to learn from the past and let it serve you well. But to keep taking victory laps rather than forging on to the future under present conditions weakens you as a leader in the eyes of your followers. Having learned from the past, strong communicators talk about and tackle the future with enthusiasm.
3. Complain About Things They Can’t Control. You will not hear comments like these from strong communicators: “I hate the way she dresses. Always out of style.” Or: “Our competitors keep making outrageous offers at these tradeshows. There’s no way they can deliver on what they’re promising.” Worrying about and wasting energy on what you cannot control is far less productive than focusing on those things that you can control.
4. Hide Behind “I wasn’t aware that….” The new normal way for arrogant politicians or CEOs to absolve themselves of wrong decisions, mistakes, or bad judgment seems to start with this statement: “I will accept full responsibility, BUT I had no knowledge of what my staff was doing or how this could possibly have happened.” All of which translates to: “I do not accept any responsibility for this. How could you possibly expect me to know what my staff was doing?” Strong communicators, on the other hand, humbly admit error, learn from it, and move forward.
5. Withhold Praise When Praise Is Due. Sure, every now and then jealousy creeps up on the unsuspecting. Your coworker gets the promotion you wanted. Your best friend wins an award and an all-expenses-paid trip for two to a destination of their choice and a 3-month sabbatical. Your sister and spouse get approval on the loan to buy their dream home. Your mastermind buddy signs the biggest contract ever while you’re experiencing a slump.
But their success does not spell your defeat. With a few oddball exceptions like two colleagues vying for the same promotion, you are not even in the same race! Reconsider what brings you happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment. Others who achieve their goals do not block the path to yours.