Great leaders give inspiring speeches, restate the organization’s values and reinforce outstanding performance. They also know when to shut up, to put it somewhat crudely. What situations should cause you to stop talking?
You need to listen. It’s all too easy to let our need to orate overshadow the vital listening function of leadership. Spend part of each day gathering information and listening carefully to your people. Hint: You can’t listen when your lips are moving.
You need to make a decision. When decisions are tough, we sometimes defer them by continuing the discussion. Figure out if you’re still talking because you just don’t have the guts to make a decision.
You can’t do anything. You don’t have the time, money or people to address the problem. Stop talking about it. Expend your energy on stuff you can impact.
It isn’t the best way to get the message across. Rather than lecturing, try setting up an experience that will make your message crystal clear. Often people learn better through active learning.
You don’t have credibility. Everyone knows you don’t handle negative feedback well. Therefore, you are not the right spokesperson for the annual performance review process. Defer to another team member until you can be a role model for the issue.
It’s all about you. The most influential leaders speak infrequently about their accomplishments. They make the people around them feel capable, interesting and important. Braggers are boring.
Now that you’ve freed up all this chit-chat time, think of what you can accomplish! Once again, Mom was right. Actions DO speak louder than words.
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