On the flip side, you’ll most likely never find these words coming out of the mouths of confident and smart leaders.
“That’s not my problem.”
Hearing this shouted across the hall when you’re asking for help or input on something important reveals an uncaring and detached attitude that screams “I’m not a team player.” Granted, no one should jump and say yes just to please a colleague. If you don’t have the time to deal with someone’s request, articulate it tactfully and thoughtfully when expressing no in a way that doesn’t make you look selfish or unconcerned.
“I’m in charge.”
If you have the need to tell others that you’re in charge, chances are you’re probably not. Bad leaders will use this phrase to instill fear in workers and establish positional authority, which is contrary to what great leaders do. By avoiding this phrase, leaders can begin the process of empowering their people to make decisions and own their work. And by doing so, they open up avenues for respect, loyalty, and commitment to take place.
This is the fast track to shutting down creativity and innovation in your knowledge workers. They look to their leaders for inspiration and the belief that anything is possible. That’s why hearing these words is really an unfortunate self-fulfilling prophecy — it sucks the air out of hopeful teams and thwarts any possibility for challenging projects to be accomplished. On the flip side, great leaders are absolutely confident in their people’s abilities; they have an internal faith mechanism that will explore every avenue, solicit every opinion and input, and ask the question, “How can we, as a team, make this happen?”