• erikbentzel

Because I Said So and The Thread of Why, pages 264-271

Part Two: Leadership Tactics, 4. Communication D. Because I Said So, E. The Thread of Why (pages 264-271)

D. Because I Said So

“Because I said so” is often used between parent and their children and between a boss and subordinates. In saying so, you are wrong. While “because I said so” might work in the short-term when the parent/boss is near, it will not be effective in the long-term when the student/subordinate is free to make their own choice. “There is another reason not to say “because I said so”, and that is you might be wrong.” The term in itself is an indicator that you might not know yourself why you are doing it. The remedy for this is to not say “because I said so”, but rather explain the why behind your request. Take the time to explain why it needs to be done a certain way. Provide reasons why a task/maneuver/procedure affects the individual, the team, and the company. Additionally, explaining why ensures that subordinates can successfully execute while allowing them to not waste time on things that do not pertain to the task/maneuver/procedure.

“Because I said so” is a term that I try to never use as a parent and leader. As I see it, those that use that term towards me do not respect me. That is the person saying that term will not take the time to have a conversation to explain why. In my opinion, the main reason for that is that they feel their time is more valuable than mine is. Why should they waste their time explaining when “because I said so” is so much more efficient? The problem is that while “because I said so” can be viewed as efficient, it is not effective. It has almost no lasting effects. Ironically, it can have one long-term effect. Because it can be seen as disrespectful, the continual use of “because I said so” can ruin any type of relationship that has already been built or allow one to not grow. So, as the parent or leader invest the time to always explain the why. This is not the time to be efficient, take the time and focus on being effective.

E. The Thread of Why

“No matter what the mission or the goal, the troops need to understand how it will positively impact them. While explaining the why is crucial, it must be connected to everyone involved for it to have the expected impact.

I have made a lot of mistakes as a leader. Most of which were made of ignorance and lack of experience. As I reflect on one particular bumpy initiative through the lens of this section, I have gained some clarity. I have many mantras one of which is “if it’s good for kids and we can afford it, try it as long as it aligns with our mission/vision”. I had an initiative based on common assessments. I researched how positive school systems use them and how they can approve student achievement. When it came to the implementation, there was a lot of push back and it confused me at the time. Why weren’t my teachers more on board with something good for the district and good for kids? I now see the error of my ways. I did not connect the worth of common assessments to my teachers. That is, how they would benefit from them. I assumed that if my teachers knew it was good for the students, it was also good for them. What I should have done was taken the time to show how beneficial they were going to be from the teacher's perspective. I surmise if I would have done that, the roll-out would have been much smoother. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Minna Antrim, “Experience is a good teacher, but she sends in terrific bills.”

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