Sometimes people say the craziest things. They don’t mean to, but nonetheless, their words confuse, insult, and challenge others to the detriment of goodwill. In the heat of a discussion, the words sting and harm relationships, or they take the team so far off-topic that it is exceedingly hard to find the way back. In these moments, leaders step up and restate.
Restating is the skill whereby leaders tell the team what a person was really trying to say. In other words, when leaders restate, they offer a more positive version of what just got said. In so doing, they clarify intentions and eliminate harsh, inflammatory, or nonsensical words and statements.
The best leaders won’t allow for statements made in team meetings to undermine the goodwill of the group, nor will they allow for team members to be insulted or challenged inappropriately. Instead of admonishing the offender and making matters even worse, they calmly restate what was said to make it more palatable to everyone.
So, when a team member argues so passionately for their viewpoint that they call a colleague a novice, an amateur, or a fool, a good leader coolly takes the floor and suggests to the team that what the team member meant to say is that they can’t understand why anyone would disagree with their view. By restating the negative meanings and intentions of the speaker, leaders diffuse hurt feelings and disarm unnecessary conflict.
Restating is a skill worth practicing and the best leaders are quick to restate to the benefit of the team. Are you ready to jump in and restate? The comity of the team depends on it.