Sep 15

Shut Up! - How To Resist The Temptation To Tell

The number one issue in a leadership workshop this week was how to resist the temptation to tell.

The participants, all experienced middle managers learning about coaching, agreed that it was the part they found most tricky to do.

"It's so hard," said one. "And now that I'm aware of it, I realise how often I do it."

The best leaders give their team members space to speak. They actively listen to what they say. As a result, they reap the benefits of an empowered team.

Encouraging your team to find answers themselves fosters a sense of autonomy and ownership. It empowers them to take initiative, boosts their confidence, builds trust, and helps them learn more and faster.

A more empowered team will allow you to reclaim your time and focus on the more strategic activities that will add the most value and help you stand out as a leader.
But from experience, resisting the temptation to tell is rarely a natural skill for these leaders; instead, they have worked on this vital leadership skill.

In order to hone your communication and resist the temptation to tell, there are some simple strategies you can employ that make all the difference.

Introducing the 5 Day Communication Skills Sprint

A short period of focus can make the fastest improvement in your communication skills. Here is what to do:

#1 Commit and Get Conscious:

 Communication is habitual, so we often don't think about how we communicate until it goes wrong or it is a conversation we are nervous about. Then, we will suddenly be hyper-aware of what we are saying.

If you bring your communication front of mind in the coming week, you will start to notice what you do well, what is less effective, and when you jump in and tell a team member what to do.

At the start of each day, spend five minutes looking at your main communication moments of the day. These are your micro-practice sessions. Set your intentions to improve your communication skills and resist the temptation to tell.

#2 Focus on your Questioning and Listening

Practice active listening by paying full attention to what your team members are saying. Resist the urge to interrupt or immediately offer solutions. Instead, ask open-ended questions that guide them toward their own answers.

If you are about to jump in, ask, "What do you think would be the best approach here?"

Plus, Give Space for Reflection:
After posing a question, allow for moments of silence to allow your team members to think. It's during these short, quiet moments that creativity and insight often surface. Remember, silence is not a void to be filled but a space for thought. These can feel like an eternity if you are used to taking over, but in actual fact, they are just a few seconds.

#3 Review

After each micro-practice, jot down what you did well and what was more challenging. Review it each morning as you identify that day's practice moments. It will help you set your intentions. Do this for five days.

Habits take time to change. At the end of the week, you will have practised multiple times, have a conscious mindset, and easily be able to identify the more deeply rooted habits that may need more focus.

Importantly, my clients who have done this have normally already improved their communication impact and, as a result of the sprint, are actively using these strategies to help them resist the temptation to tell.
→ Action Step: Give it a go. Commit to doing my five-day Communication Sprint. If you do, let me know how you get on.  I am looking forward to hearing how you get on.

Discover how 10 minutes a week can step change your leadership impact.

Write your awesome label here.

Subscribe to My Leadership Accelerator Newsletter

Get 1 high-impact leadership lesson every Friday.  Advice, actionable lessons and tips for ambitious managers on how to reclaim your time and lead a high-performing team. 
    We value your privacy. You can unsubscribe at any time.
    Created with