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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 March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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