You wear glasses. You have a high IQ. You speak at conferences. You read scholarly books. So let me ask you a question. Why would you ever share with your staff that you are having a bad day or you are stressed out about money? It's like shooting your own foot and zapping yourself with a stun gun at the same time, only you get to put on dunce cap after you're done and do the stupid-chicken dance, too. There is a much better way to lead. It involves not saying certain things that destroy confidence.
1. "I don't have a plan."
Let's start with the basics. Admitting you don't have a plan is like sticking a fork in something and letting it spoil on the table. The first act is dumb, but the effects are worse. Smart leaders never tell anyone they don't have a plan. There is always a plan. What you might not trust is whether the plan will work out, but you should never tell anyone that.
2. "I'm not sure."
Good leaders build confidence; they are positive and enthusiastic about the future. There is never a case when that isn't true. Even if you have some data that suggests otherwise, do you really know the future? Might as well stick to what is positive.
3. "I'm stressed."
Letting people who work for you know you are stressed doesn't help anyone-not even you. It's always good to let a mentor or adviser know about your stress. Those who are looking to you for leadership should always see someone who is calm, assured, and confident.
4. "Money is tight."
It's amazing how many entrepreneurs go around and tell people they don't have enough money. Would you give that guy more money? Would you trust that person? Be honest and clear about company objectives; keep financial statements to yourself if sharing them with your staff will just cause them stress and make them wonder if the company will even continue to exist.
5. "I'm having a bad day."
This is a good one to share with your significant other or a good friend outside of work, not your accounting supervisor or your CMO. Telling people you are having a bad day is a really bad idea. It breaks confidence. It even breaks trust, because employees don't like to follow people who are moody and unpredictable. Every day is a good day, a great reason to be on the job, and a wonderful opportunity. Really!