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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 January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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