Earlier this week I posted the story of a passenger plane that crashed due to just a few miscalculated degrees of navigation. In a similar vein, what you say in front of those you clash with and behind their backs are those few degrees of leadership navigation that can either make or break that team member. Your challenge last week was to evaluate how you talk about your team members, especially those with whom you occasionally clash, and make a point during the week to turn your commentary constructive.
How did it go? Probably it took a lot of tongue biting, but I hope you saw what I have often found during this exercise. If it is done in sincerity, you find what you look for. If you no longer focus on the negative and work beyond passive aggressive comments to actual sincere constructive communication, you might have found this person doesn’t do everything wrong, and eventually made it off of your black list.
The challenge to turn things constructive may seem familiar, it’s because communication about your team is just as important as communication to your team. What you say behind people’s backs has a malicious karma – many times coming right back to you, oftentimes when your guard is down. ‘Better safe than sorry’ is not a bad approach to talking about people. Not only is their reputation on the line, but your legacy as a leader is dependent on how you talk about the people who surround you.
Have a great weekend!