How to Be a Leader Who Knows When to Say No

Do you find yourself helping others more than you actually should? Do you take on a task just because it’s quicker and easier if you did it yourself? Now be honest, did you answer yes?

If you’re a leader or business owner, it’s easy to take over and control the project or task. You may think you’re doing the team a favor by “helping” them, but in fact, you’re doing the very opposite. 

Ask yourself, do you want to create a team that highly depends on you? How about running a business where your employees have neither self-confidence nor motivation? Or worse, having your phone ring constantly and email after email when you’re on that much-deserved vacation because things can’t be completed or handled without your input or final answer? Does this sound like you’re running a self-sufficient business or department?

Saying No and empowering your team can be one of the most difficult things to accomplish as a leader but it can be the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done.

Imagine for a minute that you have an amazing team who knows how to communicate, hold effective team meetings for productive collaboration, and seek your opinion/guidance only after they have utilized all available resources. Wouldn’t that allow you to perform GREAT work as a leader to concentrate on what matters the most, allowing you to focus your energy on growing the business instead of putting out fires?

You don’t want to be the bottleneck of your own problem and risk not meeting important deadlines. So how do you do this? Well, you ask questions!  Yup ask questions. When someone comes into your office with an issue, what is your first response? Give them the answer of course… but that’s what you should NOT do.

Before you open your mouth, take a deep breath and take in what was just asked of you. Trust me; I know how hard that can be! Now, ask open-ended questions to dig deeper, to ensure and identify the real problem or challenge that’s on the table.

Allow the other person to speak without interruption but guide them to get right to the point, no fluff needed.  Sometimes, they’ll answer their own question just by using this technique, of you, asking open-ended questions and not giving them the answer. However, one thing that a true leader must learn is to be curious about what the person has to say. Make eye contact; make them feel as if what they have to say is the only thing that matters. Give them your full attention as this will make a huge difference in the outcome and enhance your communication skills along the way.

Some questions you may want to ask: What’s on your mind? What’s the real challenge here? What’s the real challenge for you? Don’t overwork the problem, ask simple and specific questions. Now, I didn’t say this was going to be easy, it’s going to take time and lots of practice. Be aware of yourself when you want to be the advice villain. Regain control and ask questions.

Give the freedom of responsibility, empower and build confidence!

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