11 Things Leaders Should Never Say to Teams
Being a leader comes with great responsibility.
Not only are you accountable for the success of your division or organization, but your team is also constantly reliant on you for feedback, coaching, and guiding personal development.
While juggling these priorities, it’s not always easy for a manager to know the exact right thing to say to employees on the team. To further complicate matters, we all have bad management habits that have compounded over time, and they can be difficult to shed.
Building a New Lexicon
Today’s infographic comes to us from Headway Capital, and it highlights 11 things that leaders should never say to their teams.
More importantly, it breaks down the negative implications of each instance, while also providing suggestions on how we can evolve our managerial skills to ensure that we are approaching each situation far more proactively.
Life as a leader is busy, and it has many competing priorities.
However, to grow the type of company culture that pays long-term dividends, it’s worth it to try and better develop the way you give feedback to team members.
Using the list of items in the infographic, we can generally categorize these mistakes in a few distinct categories.
1. Gut Reactions
The quick dismissal of someone’s effort (“That’s not important”) or the temptation to play the busy card (“I don’t have time to talk right now”) can send the message that an employee’s time or thoughts are not valued.
Instead, small adjustments can be made to encourage better outcomes. For example, you could make it clear that while you may be busy in the moment, that a time can be scheduled at a later date to discuss the issue in detail.
2. Business Truisms
Likewise, spouting overused, quasi-motivational business phrases (“Failure is not an option”) or using dictative language (“We’ve already tried that before”) can stifle innovation at a company.
It’s better to instead ask questions, such as “What is our backup plan if this idea doesn’t work?” or “What other options do you see?”, to expand the range of opportunities that can be pursued.
3. Generic Feedback
Finally, although phrases like “Keep doing what you’re doing” or “Nice job today” seem to be positive and engaging, they actually are ineffective from a development perspective.
Employees need specific feedback to grow, so all that has to happen here is to mention a specific task or project along with the feedback. Team members can then internalize precisely what made a project or task a success, and apply it to other areas in the workplace.
Visualized: The Daily Routines of Famous Creatives
The daily routines of 16 famous creatives—poets, thinkers, scientists and even politicians—are charted for comparison with each other.
Visualized: The Daily Routines of Famous Creatives
What is the best daily routine to unlock creativity, or is there such a thing?
Many modern suggestions for optimizing creativity—like scheduling time for “deep work,” and building small, sustainable “atomic habits”—can be traced back to famous creatives in many different eras. And though they all found success, they employed different methods as well.
In this unique visualization, RJ Andrews from InfoWeTrust has charted how notable creatives in different fields spent their days. He picked 16 of the 161 “inspired minds” covered by Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, a book by writer and editor Mason Currey published in 2013.
How Much “Creativity Time” in Famous Daily Routines?
Dividing the day into 24 hours, Andrews denoted certain categories for daily activities like working creatively, sleeping, and other miscellaneous endeavors (meals, leisure, exercise, and social time).
For the creatives with a separate day job—Immanuel Kant and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart—their ordinary labor is also counted in miscellaneous activities.
Below is a breakdown of the daily routine of all 16 people featured above:
|Name||Occupation||Creative (hrs)||Sleep (hrs)||Miscellaneous (hrs)|
|Honoré de Balzac||Novelist||13.5||8.5||2|
|L.V. Beethoven||Composer / Pianist||8||8||8|
|Charles Darwin||Naturalist / Biologist/ Geologist||7||8||9|
|Benjamin Franklin||Writer / Inventor / Scientist / Statesman||8||7||9|
|W.A. Mozart||Composer / Pianist||8||5||11|
The average and median amount of time spent on creative work for these individuals was just over 8 hours a day. At the extremes were two French novelists, Honoré de Balzac with 13.5 hours daily spent on creative work, and Victor Hugo with only 2 hours.
Interestingly, the allocation of creative work time was different in almost every daily routine. Maya Angelou’s routine resembles the modern work day, with the bulk of her writing between 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Others like Kant and Mozart had creativity blocks when time allowed, such as before and after their teaching jobs.
Then there are outliers like Honoré de Balzac and Sigmund Freud, who worked as much as they could. Balzac wrote from 1:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with just an hour and a half nap break in between, fueled by up to 50 cups of coffee. Freud split up his creative work into three different blocks: analyzing patients in the morning, consulting in the afternoon, and reading and writing journals into the late evening.
But somewhere in their days, most of these brilliant minds made sure to get a good rest, with an average of 7.25 hours of sleep across the board.
Schedule Yourself to Create Success
Creativity may ebb and flow, but these great minds had one clear thing in common: scheduling time for creative work.
The perfect daily routine was usually what fit in with their lifestyle (and their bodies), not based on an arbitrary amount of work. For example, night owls with later chronotypes worked late, while socialites and politicians found time outside of their commitments.
They also found time to move and enjoy life. Half of the people in the dataset specified exercise in their accounts—either leisurely strolls or fast walks. Many also scheduled social time with partners, friends, or children, often paired with a meal.
Perhaps the greatest insight, however, is that the day-to-day routine doesn’t have to look extraordinary to be able to create extraordinary work.
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