Now that the election is behind us, the focus and attention of media and politics is starting to focus on the effects of the national debt, expiration of a large number of tax cuts, and the implementation of an automatic spending reduction. Since these issues are so complex and difficult to understand, the media has reduced them to descriptive words like “taxmageddon” and “the fiscal cliff“.
The problem with words and phrases like these is they are designed to create negative mental images for those who do not understand the depth of the issues. People and media are summarizing these complicated issues with words designed to move people to one side or the other using fear.
Do we do that too? When we are leading our tasks and projects, do we over-simplify our own complicated issues in order to get people “on our side” without a full examination of the situation?
As I lead, I try to use words that are less inflammatory…less negative…and less polarizing. If I perceive that the project is approaching an obstacle or barrier to achieving our objectives, I don’t start running from office to office like Chicken Little…I begin with the assumption that I might be wrong. I ask others on the team if they see what I see. I am slow to frame a description of the issue until I understand it…and even then I allow room for other interpretations.
It would be helpful to everyone on the team if you would do the same. Be careful with your words.
Thanks for listening!