Things Successful Leaders Avoid Saying (Part 10)

Successful leaders avoid this phrase:

“I need you to…”

Although this is a common way for leaders to assign tasks, it is poor wording for these reasons:

  1. It turns servant leadership upside down; leaders are supposed to meet the needs of others, not to seek to have their own needs met.
  2. It’s a little extreme; I need food, water, shelter, steady income, and love. I’m not sure stapling the cover page to the TPS report falls into the same category.
  3. It reminds people of their junior high teachers; it’s a little passive-aggressive, because it doesn’t have the courage to ask for a response, allowing the “no”.

Instead of “I need you to…”, try “Will you please…?”

This turns it into an actual task request, requiring a yes or no answer, and making it a two-way street.

To go back to “Things Successful Leaders Avoid Saying (Part 1)”, start here.

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