Pretend for a moment that you are trying to undermine your team's efforts. Here are some strategies guaranteed to help them fail:
• Talk at team members, not with them. This killing tendency is all too common. But when you talk at them, you are talking down to them and being condescending. Antidote: Rely on words "we", "our" and "us."
• Exaggerate. Generalizations attack people's self-esteem. Using words like 'always", "never", "all the time", will drag your team down. Antidote: Instead of using absolute words, be specific. Remember that leadership calls for insight, not insensitive.
• Assume that team members spot problems and solutions. Assuming invariably cost time, money and morale. So when you take team members knowledge for granted, you'll hurt team performance. Antidote: Follow the ABC's of ensuring understanding. Ask team members what they think you want or said. Blame no one if that understanding is wrong. Communicate more clearly, then confirm your message was understood.
• Don't reward improvements. Antidote: Every performance improvement, no matter how small deserves some type of reward. Take 10 to 20 minutes every week to sit down with your team and review what they have accomplished, individually and as a group.
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