Gary Winters

Coach  Workshop Facilitator Author

Three Words Leaders Hate to Say

We live in troubled times. (Hint: We ALWAYS live in troubled times, but that’s for another post.)

During these times of uncertainty, anxiety and change, as leaders we are called upon more than ever to take our teams to “the promised land.”

Will we get there? Will we be alright? What’s going to change, and what will remain the same?

Will the project be successful? Will we get new customers or clients? Will the budget get slashed again?

Will I lose my job? My savings or retirement fund? My home?

When questions like these are posed of leaders, most avoid saying what is often true: “I don’t know.”

Leaders avoid saying “I don’t know” for a variety of reasons:

  1. They are afraid of looking foolish.
  2. They are afraid they will look weak.
  3. They are afraid they will lose the respect of the people around them.
  4. They don’t want to admit that they aren’t all powerful, all knowing, all wise. (Remember the Wizard of Oz?)

Leaders, above all, need to tell the truth.

That is the source of strength, of courage, and of inspiration. And who doesn’t want to follow a leader who is strong, courageous, and inspiring?

The next time someone asks you a question, and you don’t know the answer, don’t fake it. Don’t avoid it. Don’t try to make it go away with humor, sarcasm, or misdirection.

Admit it. You don’t know. Follow up with what you’re going to do:

  1. “Let me look into it.”
  2. “Let’s explore options and ‘what if’ scenarios.”
  3. “Let’s see what we can do even if we don’t have all the answers.”

But start with “I don’t know.”

Here’s another reason to say it. When you don’t know, even when you don’t say it, we all know you don’t know. You’re not fooling anyone.

So say it out loud: “I don’t know.” And then, do something about it. You do that, and you’ll have our respect, and our confidence in you will be strengthened.

How do I know this is true?

I don’t know.

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is the sequel to the very popular “What Your Boss Never Told You.” Packed inside are more tips, techniques, and insights about the challenging, but rewarding leadership position.

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is written in a conversational tone, as though you and the author were enjoying a cup of coffee and talking about the issues that emerge for new leaders. It stands alone, and/or could be read before or after the first volume, “What Your Boss Never Told You.” You can start with any chapter and read in any order you like.

if you search for a book on management, you’ll find a staggering 600,000+ books currently available. How can you narrow that down? “What Your Boss Never Told You” is the best place to start.

No textbook here – this book is short and sweet. It’s designed to help you “unpack” your new job and be effective from the first day with your new team. It contains twenty-one chapters filled with the wisdom Winters has gathered from real managers – effective, successful leaders in organizations much like yours.

Leaders make decisions every day – big and small. Most know that if they include others in the decision-making process, the quality of those decisions – and the commitment to them – will likely improve. That said, they also know it’s impractical, if not impossible, to include others in every decision they confront.

“To Do or Not To Do” tackles the question of when to make decisions on your own, and when to involve your team. It gives you a deceptively simple but proven method to determine, when you are facing a difficult decision, how to decide how to decide.

Far too many meetings are dreadful, mind-numbing, energy-draining, productivity-sapping, colossal wastes of time. As someone once said, “To kill time, a meeting is the perfect weapon.”

Here’s the deal: if you’re willing to learn and apply the techniques in “So, How Was Your Meeting?”, you’ll call fewer meetings, while vastly improving the ones you do lead. They’ll take less time, have more balanced participation, produce better decisions, and result in concrete action items for follow-up afterwards.

While there are thousands of books written for people about to retire, this may be the only book for people who manage soon-to-retire employees. Written in a casual, conversational style, “Managing the Soon To Retire Employee” will give you everything you need to know to move forward with confidence and grace.

You can be successful with Sooners. It won’t happen by chance, and it’s not a matter of pulling some management “trick” out of your hat. But you can learn how to do it, and you can apply what you’ve learned right away.

Managing friends or former peers can be awkward. When you become the boss, everything about these relationships can suddenly be uncomfortable. There’s a new set of ground rules to establish – as manager, you are going be accountable for the work performance of friends or former co-workers on the team, and they are going to have to adjust to the fact that they now report to you. Everyone involved can feel awkward and hesitant about the future. 

Have you been approached by management with an offer to promote you to supervision? Or, are you mulling over the possibility for the future? Find yourself not sure whether to accept the promotion?

If so, you’ve come to the right place. Help! They Want to Make ME a Supervisor will help you sort out a very big question: Should you accept the offer to become a supervisor? Once you’ve read this book, you’ll be confident that you’ve made the best decision for you and for your organization.