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Top 5 Things Leaders Should Say| Lead Now-January 2013
Susan Battley, PsyD, PhD.  Leadership Psychologist and Author Susan Battley, PsyD, PhD. Leadership Psychologist and Author
Stony Brook, NY
Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Susan Battley Newsletter

January 2013

In This Issue - January 2013

  • Personal Note
  • Feature Article - Top Five Things Leaders Should Say
  • Susan's Choice - Humor from The New Yorker
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Personal Note

I am so excited and grateful to welcome 2013. This year marks our 15th anniversary as a strategic leadership advisory firm dedicated to helping world-class leaders execute brilliantly.

To our clients, friends and colleagues, my heart-felt thanks for the privilege of your business, partnership and trust.

As a leader or manager, what should you be saying on a regular basis to your people, customers and other key opinion influencers?

To kick off the New Year in high gear, read my Top Five Things Leaders Should Say article here to find out. Use it as a performance booster, or as a checklist of what you're currently doing right!

P.S. My 2012 leader lookbacks include a CEO ALL-STARS roundup for Forbes and a TOP TURNAROUND CEOs review on CNBC.com.

Featured Article

Top Five Things Leaders Should Say

Opinion research shows that public confidence in business and political leaders is middling to very poor.

For example, a Gallup poll (December 2012) found that only 21 percent of Americans rated business leaders as very high in terms of honesty and ethical behavior. Members of Congress fared even worse in the poll, coming in second from the bottom of 22 professions. Only used car salesmen rated lower. (Nurses came in first place.)

These findings are a pointed reminder that leaders need to act in ways that build trust and stakeholder engagement, not erode them.

To help raise the performance bar, here are five communication behaviors that leaders should use to supercharge their effectiveness in this success-critical domain. Some may seem obvious. However, in reality I find they often fall into the category of the "Invisible Obvious."

Five-Point Leader Communication Checklist

  1. Say the TRUTH. This is the Prime Communication Directive. There is no room for spin, half-truths or multiple versions of the truth if a leader wants to gain and keep buy-in from employees, customers and other stakeholders. Reputation is a leader's most precious asset. Once it's compromised, winning back credibility and stakeholder trust is extremely difficult and sometimes downright impossible. 
  2. Say THANK YOU. Expressing appreciation and recognition of others' efforts and contributions is another key communication priority. This is an aspect of emotional intelligence -- meaning the ability to identify and control emotions in oneself and others - that research shows differentiates great leaders from good leaders. Whether a leader is an elected official, a university president or a senior executive, showing sincere gratitude wins hearts as well as minds. 
  3. Say WE, NOT I. This point is not new, but it bears repeating. It takes a community of dedicated people to deliver consistent winning results. Highly effective leaders don't hog the limelight, but instead speak about the team, the community or the organization. They don't talk "down" but rather inspire and motivate "up" by being other-focused, not self-focused. 
  4. Say TELL ME MORE. Successful leaders are inquisitive. They are constantly on the lookout for information that will give them a competitive edge. They want to hear good news, but - even more - they want to drill deep when receiving bad news or differing opinions. In this way, they create a culture of healthy discussion, high-quality decision making and innovation. 
  5. Say NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT. Leaders are the final arbiters of their organization's values and reputation. They should have only one response to suggestions or actions that violate -- or appear to violate - those values or general business ethics. 

A key point I make to current and aspiring leaders is this: People have to buy into you before they will buy from you. Incorporating these five behaviors and phrases into everyday actions sets a positive "tone at the top" and strengthens engagement and organizational performance overall. Use them consistently to execute brilliantly.

Susan's Choice Here's a humorous -- and humbling - observation to kick off the New Year!

Licensed for use from Cartoonbank.com

About Us

May we be of service?

BATTLEY Performance Consulting helps leaders execute brilliantly for maximum success in high-stakes change situations. We work with distinguished top executives, board directors and senior management teams that are committed to accelerating their growth and strategic results.

Board & Leader Effectiveness | Executive Selection & Onboarding | Succession Planning

Susan Battley, PsyD, PhD, is the firm's founder and CEO. She is an internationally recognized expert, author and speaker on leader, board and organizational effectiveness in complex times.

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LEAD NOW is a complimentary newsletter on leadership and brilliant execution for clients and friends of BATTLEY Performance Consulting. Its content is intended for general information purposes only. Consult a professional regarding any individual situations and circumstances. Pass it on! You're welcome to forward this newsletter with full attribution. The information contained herein is copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission. Copyright 2013, Susan Battley. All rights reserved. Privacy Notice: Your information will absolutely NEVER be shared.

Battley Performance Consulting, Inc. | P.O. Box 823, Stony Brook, NY 11790 USA | Tel: (+1) 631.675.9111 | Email: Info@BattleyInc.com

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