Don’t Tell

WorkMatters Tips
Issue #3 -September
12, 2006
Publisher:Gayle Lantz
A quick tip to help leaders and executives who need to
motivate their teams and themselves, and catapult their business. 

this ezine direct to
your desktop:

Don’t Tell

If you’re trying to get other people to do their job, stop"telling"
them what to do. It may sound counterintuitive, but you can best help a person
do his job without directing him every step of the way. 

If I’m driving to a new location, I like having someone
sitting next to me to tell me when to turn left, how many miles to go and what
exit to take. But then I can become dependent on that person. I don’t really
learn how to get where I want to go on my own. 

If you’re like many of the executives I coach, you may be
giving too many instructions and not allowing others to build their own capability.
It’s hard not to tell others how to do something, especially when you’re good
at it, or sometimes, even when you’re not. 

I’ve never seen a kids soccer game without parents yelling instructions
from the sidelines. Our daughter’s soccer coach wants the parents to stop
directing the girls, despite our well intended advice, so the girls can learn
to think for themselves. It’s an interesting dynamic. 

Here are some alternatives to try when you think you just
can’t stop yourself from telling (or yelling).

1. Show them what you
want them to do.
For example, if you’re managing sales people who have to
make cold calls, they probably know all the steps to follow. But if you can
show them how to do it, the learning sticks. They have an experiential model to
follow. Let them see you, or someone, making actual calls. Even if they have
observed calls as part of initial training, they need to see it throughout
their career. Seeing successful people in action, at any phase of a person’s career,
is a great way to learn and build skills. 

2. Ask good
If you’re working with other people who handle customer
issues, it’s easy to say,"Here’s what you should do when a customer complains…"
However, try asking the employee for ideas. Then listen to their answers
without judgement. Here are some questions you might try:

* What do you think would be the appropriate response?

* When have you seen someone handle that kind of situation

* How might you respond most effectively?

* What is something exceptional you might try?

 3. Collaborate.
 An attorney tells his assistant all the things she needs to
do to help him manage his clients. She’s
got all the necessary pieces — the files, paperwork, schedules, client names,
etc., but for some reason, she’s not doing what needs to be done. No amount of telling or "re-telling" gets the assistant to
perform any better. Instead, the attorney should try a different approach —
ask for a meeting to determine how they can best work together. Sound radical?
Request a one-on-one meeting, a simple informal collaboration, to solve the
problem. He needs her ideas, perspective and suggestions. Two heads are better
than one. 

So, instead of giving all the answers, help people think.
They may surprise you with even better ideas. They will assume more responsibility on their own, and build their
capability, which is what you want as a manager. 

If you have questions or topics you’d like to see addressed
in future issues, 

P.S. Want to work on your own coaching skills? Visit

Manager, interviewing a job applicant: "For a man with
no experience, you are certainly asking for a high wage."
Job Applicant: "Well Sir, the work is so much harder
when you don’t know what you’re doing!"

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Reprinted from "WorkMatters Tips," a free ezine
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catapult their business. Subscribe at



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