Language is instrumental in how we are performing interpersonally as well as intrapersonally. It's not just the language that we're using with others. Most importantly, it's the language we're using with ourselves.
Fast answers may bite you in the rear end! We’ve been taught since we were young to have the answer. A lot of people have created a career based on having answers, and they usually are rewarded for having those answers quickly.
Accountability has gotten a bad rap because it’s been misused so often, and misunderstood even more. When you don’t practice regular, healthy accountability with people, you’re letting them off the hook. You’re really telling them “I don’t care about what we agreed to” at best…or “I don’t care about you” at worst.
How often do you hear someone ask, “did you do X? Did you do Y? Did you do Z?” Bad questions are a MAJOR way you block your own influence. A big pattern you likely have is asking yes/no questions. When you use yes/no questions, you’re literally encouraging the other person to give you a yes or a no. This limits their input into the conversation, and with enough Y/N questions, people will get frustrated, or confused.
Our whole lives, we’ve been rewarded for having the right answer. The kicker is that when we work with people…there is no “right” answer, there are just answers. When we think we have the right answer, we’re sending the message that others are wrong, even if we don’t intend to. This triggers resistance in others, slowing down our immediate influence with them, and creates problems for our long-term influence as well.
Have you heard the saying Selling Past the Close? That’s Habit #5 of the 8 Surprising Habits that Hamstring Your Influence and I am so guilty of this! Selling Past the Close means the people have already said yes, or they agree, or they “bought in” to what you’re saying.
In your next meeting, listen closely to the people around you and I’ll bet you hear, “I think we should” or “We need to” multiple times. You’ll also see some head nodding or a quizzical look, yet no specific action is taken, no clear decision is made – because these words don’t mean anything.
If you think that influence means persuading or convincing others, you’ve got habit #3: misunderstanding influence. This all-too-common mindset accidentally perpetuates mediocre performance and frustration.