"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been."
Wayne Gretzky

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 285

Estimated reading time:  2.15 minutes


One of the great joys of my work is working with emerging leaders. I learn much more from them, than they learn from me I am sure. I was in a conversation with one such person a couple of days ago, and he was talking about a discipline that he called “custody of my mouth.”


We were speaking about his learning over the last couple of weeks and he spoke of watching another leader being careful with his words. The emerging leader said, “he is so good at having custody of his mouth.”


I asked him about it and he explained that it was his way of reminding himself that people pay attention to his words simply because of his role. The words that come out of his mouth carry weight and he is responsible for them. All of us as leaders need to keep custody of our mouths; we are responsible for what comes out of them.


Here are three ways you can keep custody of your mouth more effectively:


  1. Always match what is in your heart with what comes out of your mouth. Or put another way, don’t lie. 
  2. Remember the adage; is it true? is it necessary? is it kind? If you answer ‘no’ to any of those questions, why speak?
  3. The first thing that comes to mind is more often than not your habitual thinking. Give yourself time to hear other people, to see different perspectives and gain new insights before you speak.



May this week be filled with opportunities for us all to have custody of our mouths.