Whether you are a new manager or a senior manager, you are shooting yourself in the foot if these words ever come out of your mouth.
I want to talk to those of you who are managers–new managers, is old managers and a bad habit that some of you have. Let’s just put it into context.
You’re in a situation where something isn’t working out right. You made a call; you took an action. It wasn’t right. And your way of responding to it is by saying, “you know, that’s just the way I am and how I do things.”
What’s the message that you’re sending to your team or to your executive leadership? I’ll tell you what the message is. The message is “I really don’t care. I screwed up and I won’t take ownership of it. I won’t own up to my mistakes and I don’t really care. ”
Now, for the message to senior leadership is, “this guy’s a problem.” That’s the way they see it. For your team, it’s, “Okay. This guy made a mistake and he’s going to call us on our mistakes and he’s going to try and pinpoint us and that’s just the way he is? I’ll practice saying that for myself, too.”
Folks, when you’re in leadership . . . Actually, when your management (Leadership knows better), when you’re in management and you say stuff like this, why don’t you just put a bullet in your foot because you’ve caused yourself more headaches than you can imagine. Headaches in your relationship with the people you interact with at all levels.
I just want to say to you if you’re ever confronted in a situation like that, just very simply say, “I need to think about this. Right now, my initial gut instinct I know is not right and give me a couple of minutes. I’d like to think about this and circle back to you. ” That is the ideal message to send to people whether it’s the team because they see that you’re struggling with something, but you want to work it through and that sends a message to them that you’ll own up to your mistakes and, to leadership, to basically say, ” just give me a little breathing time to sort through what happened here. I’m not prepared to talk about it, but I need a little bit of time and I’ll circle back.”
That doesn’t put you behind the eight ball. That doesn’t put you in a situation where you’re going to wind up causing yourself headaches. Look you made a decision. It didn’t turn out right. Own up to it. But how you do it is important. Being able to do a post-mortem of the events that occurred and why you made the choices that you made and understand why they didn’t work out is part of what management and eventually the leadership is all about because we all make mistakes, right?
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1300 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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