What to say- What Not to say when you Lead

 By Somali K Chakrabarti

“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” ~Dorothy Nevill

 

“Isn’t it surprising how many things, if not said immediately, seem not worth saying ten minutes from now?” ~Arnot L. Sheppard, Jr.     

What_to_say

Life presents us with numerous situations when we have to take a call between what we should say, when, and what is better kept to ourselves.

The fine balance between seizing the opportunity to say the right things at the right moment and to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment is what differentiates a clear-minded person from a blabbermouth.

 

Balancing Communication as a Leader

A quality that is consistent among all good leaders is their ability to communicate well.

Communication does not refer to oratorical skills alone. It also means the ability to decide what is to be said, to whom, how it is to be said, and what is NOT to be said.

In both corporate world and in the political arena, we come across garrulous leaders who often make inane statements when those are least required, and also the ones who do not speak up even when needed. No prizes for guessing!

I agree that Leadership does not entail that you explain every thought, action or position of yours. If you are in a habit of explaining every action of yours, it may sometimes be perceived as a lack of confidence or may result in a lack of agility. But, at the same time, you are expected to be transparent to your people.

Hence, arises the need for balancing communication as a leader.

Leader speak

As a leader you can neither be a Black-box that absorbs all information and shares none, nor can you be a Conduit that passes on all your problems to the team.

 

Being Transparent vs Withholding Information

So what are the situations in which you need to be transparent vs the situations where you need to withhold information? Let’s have a look:

Being Transparent is best when:

Information shared will help people to improve their skills or perform better.

Your team has achieved something remarkable. Sharing success stories and passing on the laurels is a great way to boost morale.

You are trying out something new. Your need to help people to understand the objectives, what are your expectations from each of them, and how their actions will align with your overall objectives.

You are doing something in a way that deviates sharply from your normal way of action.

You have to correct a misconception or make your stand clear on an issue.

You have to disagree (preferably without ruffling feathers).

The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes. ~ Tony Blair  [Tweet this]

 

Consider withholding if:

It amounts to micro management, when dealing with people with high skill levels.

“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”  ~ George S. Patton   [Tweet this]

Your remarks hint at someone’s limitation that could lead to discrimination, or could be taken as inflammatory.

Your explanation does not add value to the listener and may be perceived as unnecessary justification.

In crisis situation when quick action is needed.

You have to criticize someone, do it in private.

Information in consideration is confidential, privileged or could be a rumor.

This, by no means, is an exhaustive list.

Which point in the list can you relate with ? What are the other things in your opinion that a leader should not say?

 

If you like this post, please consider following the blog.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Please like, share and/or leave feedback in comments below!

 

  • author's avatar

    By: Life11BlogAdmin

    No biography available at this time

  • author's avatar

Steer towards a positive, smart and balanced lifestyle

Signup now to receive ideas for smart living in your mailbox

I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

43 thoughts on “What to say- What Not to say when you Lead

  • June 9, 2015 at 12:27 pm
    Permalink

    nice article… its a good post showing the use of balanced communication… what we speak matters a lot… 🙂

    Reply
  • June 9, 2015 at 12:39 pm
    Permalink

    What we say is as important as how we say it and when we say it. Similarly, what we communicate by not saying something (or anything) is also equally important.

    Congratulations for a very lucid article.

    Reply
    • June 9, 2015 at 1:33 pm
      Permalink

      Yes, at times, we can communicate a lot without even saying a single word. Thanks a lot for stopping by. 🙂

      Reply
  • June 9, 2015 at 1:03 pm
    Permalink

    Truly said Somali. Most people think that communication and leadership is all about talking but there is so much more value we can create when we listen and act accordingly. Like Dale carnegie said, we can get more people interested in us by being interested in them than merely talking about us..

    Reply
    • June 9, 2015 at 1:36 pm
      Permalink

      Yes, of course, listening is a very important skill that we often underrate. The dale Carnegie concept is almost similar to pull marketing. Have a great day Vinay.

      Reply
      • June 9, 2015 at 2:24 pm
        Permalink

        True Somali. I have been an ardent fan of pull marketing and that is something we follow to the core at my company as well. It is very exciting and feels very responsible doing that.

        Reply
  • June 9, 2015 at 1:05 pm
    Permalink

    Good post Somali. How are you? Have a great day dear.😀

    Reply
  • June 9, 2015 at 1:06 pm
    Permalink

    It’s an amazing post. I think social skills are very important in both professional and personal life, one we lack very much these days.

    Reply
    • June 10, 2015 at 12:52 am
      Permalink

      True Anoop. Social skills are just as important as any technical skills in both professional and personal life.

      Reply
  • June 9, 2015 at 1:53 pm
    Permalink

    A leader needs to develop human relations skill along with conceptual and technical skills .
    A very useful .post .

    Reply
  • June 9, 2015 at 4:37 pm
    Permalink

    Really amazing & gr8 writing…WHat to say ?at which moment ? & how immediately ? are the most deciding factors while “proposing” someone..!!!

    Reply
  • June 10, 2015 at 6:47 am
    Permalink

    Communications is the soul of leadership. Somali you have very nicely presented a comprehensive list of dos and dont’s for effective communication. People also need to constantly work on their communication skills. It is not a one time exercise. Even after knowing the benefits and the dos and donts…many of us falter in the heat of moment. May Lord save us from the devil called anger!

    Reply
    • June 10, 2015 at 7:53 am
      Permalink

      Thanks for stopping by Bushra. You’ve rightly pointed out that communication i not a one -time exercise, but something that we must keep in mind on an ongoing basis. Always, good to remind ourselves from time to time.
      Have a nice day . 🙂

      Reply
  • June 10, 2015 at 9:12 am
    Permalink

    You are a master in this subject. 🙂
    I find it a kind of positive counseling.

    Reply
  • June 10, 2015 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Well thoughtful points, Somali. Most of the times we know what to say and what not to say but fail to do so when needed. Leadership is not knowledge but actualization.

    Reply
    • June 10, 2015 at 1:53 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks Ravish, True Leadership is about actualization. Reiterating the thoughts help in shaping up perceptions though, Have a nice day. 🙂

      Reply
  • June 10, 2015 at 11:42 am
    Permalink

    A pretty detailed and excellent post, I must say. Indeed this looks to be a very studied. Only a leader can write this 🙂

    Reply
  • June 10, 2015 at 12:15 pm
    Permalink

    A great post, Somali. Couldn’t agree more with the quotes you have cited here. Communication plays a very important role in leadership. One wrong word- the reputation and respect can go waste.Not only that, it demotivates others. You’ve amazingly put in words the thoughts of a true leader.

    Reply
    • June 10, 2015 at 1:57 pm
      Permalink

      Right Maniparna. Demotivation has a cascading effect, while we take more time to imbibe and spread positive thoughts. Hence the need to keep reminding ourselves repeatedly 🙂

      Reply
  • June 10, 2015 at 7:34 pm
    Permalink

    The most important point is to appreciate people, even for small achievements (small is a relative term). I am among few people who would snub you and never appreciate your qualities…such a demoralizer.

    Reply
    • June 10, 2015 at 8:34 pm
      Permalink

      Very true. Thanks for adding on the small achievements here, We often take these little things for granted and forget to appreciate people for the good things they do, however small those might be. But then those small doses of praise go a long way in boosting confidence and morale.

      Reply
  • June 10, 2015 at 9:26 pm
    Permalink

    What we say matters a lot, and we gain that by experience … very well presented post.

    Reply
  • June 11, 2015 at 11:08 am
    Permalink

    Very true, Somali.
    It’s a fine balance indeed! Wrong words can prove costly 🙂

    Reply
  • September 2, 2015 at 5:36 pm
    Permalink

    Good article on leadership, Somali. Listening skills are important in a communication.Vinay has already highlighted above so I shall not go in detail.

    Reply

Say what you want to!

%d bloggers like this: