One of my clients - let's call him "Bob" - is a master at simplifying the complicated and bringing fun to work. He has a habit of delivering nuanced feedback via pithy sayings. In this way he is able to give helpful career advice without having to "spell it out" and embarrass his direct reports. As a result, Bob is an excellent leader of people. A few of his sayings that I have particular enjoyed recently include:
- "I am the choir."
When used: I was explaining - for the 3rd time - why we needed to have a job description written before we started interviewing "friends of friends" for a potential opening.
Why he said it: I was pushing for process with Bob, and not to the employee who wanted us to interview his friend.
Lesson learned: Save your wordy explanations for the people who need them.
- "If you're not having fun you're doing something wrong."
When used: We were discussing our search for a Sales Director.
Why he said it: I was relating the strange interview I had with one of our top candidates and how poorly she performed face-to-face compared to the phone screen. I felt like I'd wasted 2 hours of time that could have been spent more productively if I'd read her signals better during the phone screen.
Lesson learned: Don't take yourself so seriously. Expect to have challenges at work and move past them.
- "That's a career decision."
When used: Said to a Direct Report who was disagreeing about a work assignment.
Why he said it: He had clearly stated the expectations and business rationale for the assignment at least twice (and possibly 3 times) and the employee was still challenging him.
Lesson learned: Robust dialogue and differences in opinions are a good thing, but at the end of the day, your boss is your boss and has the final say.
- "If we all walked around clothed in our humility, most of us would be naked."
When used: We were discussing the results of one of my projects.
Why he said it: I was boasting about my performance.
Lesson learned: Once you've got an audience with the decision maker, let your work speak for itself.
I'll keep my ears open for other great sayings by Bob and share them in the future