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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 April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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