A subtle shift in language can drive confidence throughout your organization.
I wrote this post in March 2020 when quick decisions were being made about the future of startups. Today, with fears of recession, I’ve found that many leaders are hesitant to make firm decisions and put their stake in the ground and lead. It’s important to remember that strength of decision making and commitment to action is just as important in today’s environment as it was 3 years ago.
If you are in a leadership position, you are likely thinking about what tone to take with your team during difficult times— when big decisions must be made quickly.
Here is some advice I picked up from L. David Marquet, a former Navy Submarine Commander.
In this environment, the leadership team must adopt a decisive mindset. Some decisions should be pushed down from the top, but if all decisions are made this way, the group will soon find itself paralyzed, waiting for their marching orders. Alternatively, a democratic approach, where the group aims to find consensus, is slow and leads to half measures.
The right balance is to set a proactive tone, where the leadership team feels empowered to surface problems and areas of opportunity and swiftly recommend a course of action.
This can be achieved by having the team embrace the language "I intend to.." This simple phrase shifts the ownership of the idea to the person making the statement.
Instead of the language "what do you think about X?" or "I am concerned about Y." Shift your language to "I intend to make X change to address Y problem."
This language and mindset shift leads to:
1) Swift decisions made by the right person
2) Clear lines of responsibility
3) A team of active leaders vs. order takers
“I intend to assign two reps on my team to go after X market opportunity.”
“I intend to move X person to a Customer Success role and have them focus on Account growth.”
As a leader when you see a fork in a road or an opportunity for growth, you must lead with intention and confidence. If you are looking around waiting for someone to take initiative and make a change, at Startups, that someone is often you.
more here: https://www.fastcompany.com/1843334/submarine-captain-power-leadership-language
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