No MBA mumbo-jumbo, just stuff that's worked through 30 years of team-building in business and the military.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

If You Don't Mean It, Don't Say It

A former boss often said, “If you don’t mean it, don’t say it.” That’s a great saying for leaders, because few things break trust with team members as fast as insincerity.

You can fake things for a little while - like acting enthusiastic when you really think this new initiative is the dumbest thing ever - but not for long. Eventually your folks will pick up on what you really think. When that happens, they wonder why you didn’t just say so. They wonder what else you haven’t been honest about.

That’s why my old boss had it right: “If you don’t mean it, don’t say it.” If you can’t honestly say, “This thing that corporate wants is a great thing,” find something else that you do believe. Maybe, “Look, I don’t quite see it but people who get paid more than me, and who pay us, think it’s important. So we’re going to do it and do it well because that’s the kind of team we are.”

A team member’s trust is one of the most precious gifts they can give. It’s also an easy thing to throw away and, once you’ve done that, good luck getting it back.

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