3 Ways to Get People to Read Your Mind
Today I want to talk about a valuable skill for any leader: mind reading. I admit that it would be beneficial for you to be able to read the minds of others. However, I want to share the more popular expectation of mind reading: having people read your mind. I am sure that you have been baffled by the actions of others on your team. You may ask yourself questions like, why dont they do this? Or, do they seriously not see that? These are common questions asked by leaders who have not yet taught their team members to minds. Practice the following three steps to help teach your team how to read your mind.
1. Never tell them what you want. Team members love this. It helps them feel in the dark and lost for purpose. What better survival enviorment to weed out the weak links on your team! This puts your team members in the position of doing the wrong thing or doing nothing. Just immagine all of the teaching moments this creates for your closest followers. If you want to teach people how to read your mind then you cant be soft on them. Dont tell them what you want; just tell them when they get it wrong.
2. Dont write anything down. Team members need to learn how to draw meaning out of the instructions that you never give them. This is what leader-mind-reading is all about. An experienced leader will be in a position where his key team members will have to pass on instructions to others. By not writing anything down you insure that they have to read far into the recesses of your brain to draw out some semblance of leadership.
3. Let them know when they get it wrong. Mind reading dosent come easy. People need to know when they mess up. So be quick to correct and do it often. There is a side benefit to letting people know when they fail all of the time: you eliminate anyone from your team that does not have the emotional composition of a robot! Imagine your team of tough and rugged leaders bulldozing their way to success.
There is model other than mind reading that has had some success: communication. If you are not willing to train a corp of mind reading team members then your only other option is to communicate. This is the more difficult of the two models and requires you to be thoughtful, sensitive and specific. Clear and concise information is useful in communication and having things written down insures that your message is precise and reproducible. People need to be informed when they get things right more often than when they get things wrong. Leaders who get results from their teams are encouraging and positive. Highlighting good behavior often goes farther than only pointing out when things go wrong.
I will let you choose which one of these models fit your leadership styles better. The world would be a lot better if everyone could read your mind.