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T.H.I.N.K. Before You Speak

Before you send out your next email or have a difficult conversation with an employee, take the time to review this guideline. You'll be glad you did.

With each column I write, I carefully consider the point I want to make. I draft the column, reflect on it, tweak it, and review it before I submit it to my editor, who does some of the same.

Unfortunately, that type of careful thought and reflection doesn't always happen in the business environment. Today’s technology and social-media platforms enable us to express top-of-mind, unfiltered thoughts to the world--often to disastrous results. Remember, just because we can say something doesn’t mean we should.

My sister shared a poster with me that appears throughout the high school where she teaches. While it is good advice for students, I think it is equally good advice for leaders. It reads:

Before you speak, THINK…

T - is it True?
H - is it Helpful?
I - is it Inspiring?
N - is it Necessary?
K - is it Kind?

Using this guideline does not preclude you from having tough conversations with your team. Even constructive feedback, if delivered correctly, meets these criteria.  

So, regardless of what or how you feel, T.H.I.N.K before you speak.

Download free chapters from the author's book Leadership Matters for more insights and inspiration.

IMAGE: Getty Images
Last updated: Mar 26, 2014

LEE COLAN | Columnist

Lee Colan is founder of the L Group, a consulting firm that equips and inspires leaders at every level. He is a leadership adviser, presenter of practical ideas, and a Thinkers 50 nominee for Top Management Thinker.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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