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10 Things Successful Leaders Never Say

10 Things Successful Leaders Never Say

Being a successful leader requires being a very tactful and persuasive person. Every successful leader has the ability to influence others to perform. They must be able to rally people through their own consent instead of forcing them to do things. History tells us that leadership through force does not last. Napoleon Bonaparte is but one good example of this. Long lasting leadership means showing care and understanding towards followers, through both actions and words. General Montgomery said “My own definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.”

1. This is all your fault!

A successful leader is never out to blame others. They willingly take responsibility for their mistakes and failures. As Winston Churchill said “The price of greatness is responsibility.” If they tried to blame subordinates for bad results they wouldn’t be leader for long. They also understand that playing the blame game is a waste of time and won’t help them find solutions to problems. Henry Ford once said “When one of my cars breaks down, I am to blame.”

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2. I’m in charge here!

A successful leader should never have to remind people they are in charge. By doing this they undermine themselves as not being a true leader. They are trying to lead by force, by reminding people of their authority. In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill said “The efficient leader leads by encouraging and not by trying to instill fear in the hearts of his followers.” Successful leaders don’t have to remind people of their titles or ranks. They will demonstrate leadership through all of their likable qualities and positive results instead. They don’t need titles.

3. We don’t need any more ideas

A successful leader is constantly looking for ways to do things better and more efficiently. If anything they will reward people who come to them with better solutions and ideas. They willingly put their pride and ego aside for the greater good. Henry Ford said “Everything can always be done better than it is being done.” There is always room for improvement. Successful leaders never criticize people for trying to do things better.

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4. You’re really bad at this!

Successful leaders would never directly insult someone. This will make followers lose respect for them and reduce morale. Andrew Carnegie said “Young people should be taught, very early in life, that no amount of schooling will insure their success unless they learn to negotiate with others pleasantly.” Tactful communication skills are one of the most important qualities of successful leadership. For example, before criticizing someone you should give them a compliment first. Criticism should always be done in a graceful way.

5. I’m too busy for that

This is a really broad generalization, but successful leaders should be efficient. If a leader is so disorganized and unproductive that they can’t make time for new plans, he openly admits his inefficiency. Napoleon Hill said “No genuine leader is ever “too busy” to do anything which may be required of him in his capacity as leader.” If they literally don’t have time to do something important, they will find another capable person to do it.

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6. As long as you aren’t breaking the law

Successful leaders know that you reap what you sow. Every corrupt or unethical transaction you make will come back to you in some way. A business that is not built on justice will not last. Andrew Carnegie said “In every profession, and every business, and every occupation there are ways to make money through unfair practices, and I must confess that there are individuals who are willing to earn money unfairly; but all of them are surrounded by hazards which, sooner or later, dry up the source of income or bring with it evils, if not losses, out of proportion to the gain.” Gary Vaynerchuk said “Money and Fame don’t change you, they just expose who you really are.” Successful leaders would never intentionally comprise their values for financial gain.

7. I only want to hear the good news

A successful leader isn’t afraid to hear the bad news. They want to find out about it as quickly as possible so they can start fixing the problem. They know that procrastinating and avoiding issues won’t solve them or make things better. Arnold Glasow said “One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.”

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8. I can’t solve the problem

Successful leaders have good imaginations. They are innovators. They continually absorb information that will help them in some way and surround themselves with capable individuals who are good at what they do. They must be able to solve emergencies and create plans that can be carried out efficiently by other people. Brian Tracy said “Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.” Successful leadership means knowing how to solve problems.

9. I wouldn’t want to do your job

A successful leader wouldn’t ask anyone to do a job they wouldn’t do. Nelson Mandela said “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory, when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” Andre Malraux said “To command is to serve, nothing more and nothing less.” Being a successful leader means serving others, not taking advantage of them.

10. I hate reading

Nelson Mandela said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Warren Buffet says “It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.” Applied knowledge is power. Successful leaders willingly prepare ahead of time to prepare plans that are faultless and avoid repeating the same mistakes of others. They know that organized plans and specialized knowledge are two essential qualities of success. All too often today we take for granted the wealth of information offered to us through the internet and books.

Featured photo credit: http://www.morguefile.com/creative/Sgarton via morguefile.com

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Last Updated on November 19, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments—you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time. That’s why the art of saying no can be a game changer for productivity.

Requests for your time are coming in all the time—from family members, friends, children, coworkers, etc. To stay productive, minimize stress, and avoid wasting time, you have to learn the gentle art of saying no—an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger, or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to stop people pleasing and master the gentle art of saying no.

1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it.

Be honest when you tell them that: “I just can’t right now. My plate is overloaded as it is.” They’ll sympathize as they likely have a lot going on as well, and they’ll respect your openness, honesty, and attention to self-care.

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which, for many of us, is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

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For example, if my wife asks me to pick up the kids from school a couple of extra days a week, I’ll likely try to make time for it as my family is my highest priority. However, if a coworker asks for help on some extra projects, I know that will mean less time with my wife and kids, so I will be more likely to say no. 

However, for others, work is their priority, and helping on extra projects could mean the chance for a promotion or raise. It’s all about knowing your long-term goals and what you’ll need to say yes and no to in order to get there. 

You can learn more about how to set your priorities here.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word[1].

Sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry, but…” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important when you learn to say no, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm and unapologetic about guarding your time.

When you say no, realize that you have nothing to feel bad about. You have every right to ensure you have time for the things that are important to you. 

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. However, if you erect a wall or set boundaries, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss—they’re our boss, right? And if we start saying no, then we look like we can’t handle the work—at least, that’s the common reasoning[2].

In fact, it’s the opposite—explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

“Look, everyone, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects, and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

This, of course, takes a great deal of awareness that you’ll likely only have after having worked in one place or been friends with someone for a while. However, once you get the hang of it, it can be incredibly useful.

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8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, try saying no this way:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands. If you need to continue saying no, here are some other ways to do so[3]:

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Saying no the healthy way

    10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

    This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

    Simply say so—you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization—but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true, as people can sense insincerity.

    The Bottom Line

    Saying no isn’t an easy thing to do, but once you master it, you’ll find that you’re less stressed and more focused on the things that really matter to you. There’s no need to feel guilty about organizing your personal life and mental health in a way that feels good to you.

    Remember that when you learn to say no, isn’t about being mean. It’s about taking care of your time, energy, and sanity. Once you learn how to say no in a good way, people will respect your willingness to practice self-care and prioritization. 

    More Tips for a Less Stressful Life

    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

    Reference

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