Blowhard Business Clichés For Lazy BossesPosted: February 21, 2014
Jeff Haden writes: Some platitudes are just irritating. Others, used the wrong way (wait: is there a right way to use a cliché?) serve to shut down discussions — and people.
Whipping out a cliché allows a leader to avoid explaining, avoid justifying, avoid having a deeper and more meaningful conversation… in short, avoid being a real leader.
“We need to work smarter, not harder.”
Irritating for a few reasons. One, you imply I’m stupid. (Otherwise why would I need to work smarter?) Two, you imply that whatever I’m doing should take a lot less time and effort. Three, you leave it to me to figure out what “smarter” means (if “smarter” even exists) when I obviously don’t know or I’d already be doing it that way.
And four, I know you don’t mean the “we” part.
If you know I can be more efficient, tell me how. If you know there is a better way, show me how. If you think there might be a better way but don’t know what it is, admit you don’t know and work with me to figure it out.
And, most importantly, recognize that sometimes the only thing to do, especially in the moment, is to buckle down and get it done – so stop talking and start helping.
“There is no ‘I’ in team.”
Sure there is: there are as many ‘Is’ as team members. And those individuals — the more “individual” the better — serve to make the team stronger because the best teams are a funky blend of each individual’s talents, perspectives, and goals.
If you want a team to work hard and achieve more, make sure each person feels she can not only achieve the team’s goal but also achieve one of her own goals. Spend time figuring out how each individual on the team can do both instead of taking the lazy way out by simply repressing individuality in the pursuit of some collective ideal.
The best teams are made up of people who feel the team wins… and so do they.
“It just wasn’t meant to be.”
Fate rarely has anything to do with failure. Something went wrong. Figure out what went wrong and learn from it.
Plus, “Oh, it just wasn’t meant to be…” places responsibility elsewhere. “Let’s figure out what we did wrong so we can do better next time…” is empowering because it places the responsibility where it should be.
On me. On you. On us.
“This is probably not what you want to hear.”
It’s never fun to hear bad news. But when you preface a comment by saying it won’t be what I want to hear you shift the issue over to my side of the table. You make itmy problem.
Don’t. Explain why you made a decision. Explain the logic. Explain your reasoning.
I still may not want to hear it, but at least the focus remains on the issue and not on me.
“Perception is reality.”
Yeah, yeah, I know: How I perceive something is my version of reality, no matter how wrong my perception may be. But if other people perceive a reality differently than you, work to change that perception. Make reality the reality.
Besides, perceptions are fleeting and constantly changing. Reality lasts forever, or at least until a new reality comes along to replace it.
“We’ll do it now and apologize later.”
Use this one and you’re not a bold, daring risk taker; you’re lazy and self-indulgent. Good ideas are rarely stifled. People like “better.” If they don’t like your idea, the problem usually isn’t them – it’s you…
- Action: wage war on cliches and tropes (beyondsatanism.wordpress.com)
- I Feel Your Pain and Other Annoying Comments (earth-rider.com)
- Advice on How To Avoid Clichès (iuniversepublishing.wordpress.com)
- Chicken or the egg? Which came first? (prmediaconnection.wordpress.com)
- See how many are better off than you are, but consider how many are worse. (philosiblog.com)
- The Mirage of Reality (yoursee.wordpress.com)
- Confessions: Suffering & Theological Bumper Stickers (samdorrer.wordpress.com)
- When They Say Cliche (ltmpblog.com)
- Don’t Make This Any Harder: Avoiding Business Burnout (business2community.com)
- Why we should remember to avoid cliche (theproofangel.wordpress.com)