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The War For the Last Word

War For the Last Word

We often equate having the last word to winning the war. But at what cost?

  • Does it make our argument stronger when we speak last?
  • Does our verbal opponent respect us more when we get the final word?
  • Does it move us toward an equal understanding of the issue?
  • Does it demonstrate maturity to make the last statement?
  • Do we show that we’re actively listening when we fire the last remark?

In general, the answer is no. It does none of those things.

In fact, it more often weakens our position, results in less respect, undermines understanding, illustrates immaturity, and closes communication. 

Yet, we do it.

We insist on the last word, the final shot, a late blow. We confuse wanting to be heard with speaking last.

What a fatal mistake.

As leaders, we must let go of the need to get the last word in. We need to expect to be snapped at. We must anticipate that others will communicate poorly. 

As we learn to communicate better, the onus is ours to adapt to the level and style of those we are speaking with.

Lest we forget, leaders listen first. Leaders understand others may “have the last word” – not to be confused with winning – and others can snap at us. 

Lead by example. After all, we’re the leader and ego has no place in winning a war of words.

All the best,

-Shaun


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