There are some things leaders should never say

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 By Jack Nevison

It's understood that there are a lot of things that people in positions of power should not say. But contributor Les McKeown recently listed a few catchphrases that leaders should avoid at all costs.

  • One old chestnut is "Don't bring me any surprises." McKeown correctly notes that it's dangerous to warn team members not to bring bad news because a manager may not want to hear it. That's because in business, the things you say you don't want to know are the things you need to know. Unfortunately, if you hint to your team that you don't want to hear bad news, you won't–until it's too late to do anything about it.
  • Don't you hate it when you're asked pointless questions in an interview? Most people do. So don't waste your time (and the interviewee's) asking someone "If you were an animal, what kind of an animal would you be?" The answers to such questions don't actually provide any meaningful insights into whether a person would be a good fit for the position.
  • Finally, never tell anyone "Don't take it personally." Criticism is an important aspect of any leadership job, and managers need to know when and how to deliver it. Unavoidably, people will take it personally. Managers should focus more on making sure that the criticism is fair and constructive, so that it will be effective.

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