Does this sound familiar?  The team is brainstorming with the boss and she says, “That’s a great idea but…”  She can’t resist adding her 2 cents.  I see it happen in team building sessions and it completely changes the direction of the discussion. The team learns that the boss doesn’t value their ideas so they won’t waste time coming up with any.  They also aren’t nearly as enthusiastic about implementing her ideas as they would be their own.

It’s Not About You

I have a client who is almost always the smartest person in the room.  It is really difficult for him to wait for his team members to figure things out on their own.  Once he realized that giving them the answer inhibited their learning and development, he took a different approach.  He practiced asking questions that helped them see different perspectives and possibilities and allowed them to learn from their mistakes.  Without jeopardizing the business, he gave them the freedom they needed to come up with their own ideas.

Try This Instead

The more senior you are in the organization, the more important it is to help others be successful.  How can you be sure you’re doing that?

• Stop before you speak – is your 2 cents really going to add more than detract?
• Encourage your team to come up with their own ideas – and to try a few
• Practice patience – know that they aren’t going to get it right every time

If you are struggling with holding on to your 2 cents, let’s talk about how coaching can help. Contact me



A recent 360 feedback process for several technically accomplished individuals confirmed that these clients need to be like chameleons adapting to different environments.  Although they are most comfortable with a detailed, analytical communication style, they must improve their ability to provide a high level overview to senior executive audiences and a more general approach for non-technical colleagues.

Adapt to Your Audience

Adapting your style to your environment enhances the way your audience sees and hears you. These key steps will ensure that your message is well-received in both formal and informal settings:

• Learn as much as possible about your audience, whether it’s one person or a group
• Ask someone who knows them for advice on what is most effective
• Review your presentation with a trusted advisor who can give you valuable feedback
• Adjust the level of detail accordingly
• Follow up to confirm that your message was understood

Try something different in your next discussion or presentation, notice how it is received and make changes for next time.