A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble. ~Mahatma Gandhi
Real leaders, experienced leaders, leaders who get results and develop more leaders, have a special wisdom when it comes to people and conversations. They have developed this “special” wisdom from experience, not divine insight or genetic roulette. And most of this experiential learning comes from being let down when people say, YES!
The conversation is had, instructions given, the reply is YES, move on to the next issue, assuming that YES means: YES, I will act on it. YES, I will get it done. After a while those in leadership positions begin to realize that YES does not always mean something will happen or that people will follow your instructions.
Wise leaders understand the 4 YESES
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. ~George Bernard Shaw
Things are rarely as they appear, and that is especially true in human conversations and giving instructions to others. As in most human interactions, there are various levels, or layers, to the meaning of words. Weak or novice leaders hear YES, assume the instructions or communication is received, and move on. Over time they will learn that there are at least FOUR LEVELS of YES:
- First YES: I see you are talking.
- Second YES: I actually hear you talking.
- Third YES: I understand what you are saying.
- Fourth YES: I will act on it.
Taking the first YES and believing your job is done often leads to disappointment, time lost and extra cost. All things good leaders should avoid.
Overcoming the “No Commitment” YESES
Experienced leaders who understand the Four YESES don’t take the first yes, but continue to probe, ask for confirmation, ask questions like When? How? With Whom? Where? How Much? By What Date?
If you want the result, go the extra mile to get to the real YES!
John R Childress