Leaders Who Belittle

Image Credit: Leonard John Matthews. Creative Commons License

Stop yelling at us.
We hear you just fine.

Stop talking to us as if you’re all knowing.
We know things, too.

Stop bombarding us with more of the same.
We see the points you’re making.

It’s always dangerous when people trying to lead others unknowingly treat them as if they are uninformed or ignorant.  Dismissing others’ perspectives because you believe yours is better is rarely the way to win converts to your position, yet that’s exactly what some leaders do.

When encountering resistance, they dig in. They talk louder. They talk more. But they talk at us, not with us.  

They engage in a monologue about their truth instead of a dialogue in which all participants share their truths.  They advocate the merits of their position instead of inquiring about our thinking.  

Instead of saying "Tell me a little bit more about where you're coming from" we get "Let me tell you a lot more about where I am coming from and where you need to go."

Passionately professing our deepest held convictions is one thing. Convicting those who might not embrace our prophesy is quite another.

If we can’t respect that others might have an opinion or perspective that they believe is as valid as ours, we shouldn't expect them to respect our position or to try it on for size. 

When we belittle others, we end up being little … little in stature, little in influence, and little in results.

We can't hope to influence others if we are not open to influence ourselves.