6 Phrases that a Leader Should Never Utter

6 Phrases that a Leader Should Never Utter

Whoops!  We have all been there.  You say something in your role as a leader and immediately wish you could take back time by 10 seconds.  Your impact as a leader is influenced by what you say and how you say it.  As a leader, you want to engage and influence your employees so they can exceed the expectations of your clients.  What you say and how you say it are both critical when dealing with your team members.  It’s just common sense as you will see, but sometimes common sense is missing from the way we communicate.  

Below are 6 phrases that should never be “voiced by a leader”:

 1. "I don’t know anything about that..."

Then what do you know?  When someone says something is not their area, it is another way of passing the job to someone else. Even though, in some cases, this statement may be true, people may take it as a way to avoid responsibility.  Don’t point fingers.

Another way of saying this: “I am not as familiar with that program, but I will find the best person for you to talk to.”

2. "Gosh, Paul was supposed to get that to you..."

Who is Paul?  This statement is meant to pass the buck to others, and also denies your accountability as a leader. This can lower the degree of confidence people have of your abilities to take care of things and get stuff done.  Don’t point fingers. 

Another way of saying this: “I am sorry that you did not receive it, I will get right on it and see what we can do.”  

3. "I can do that for you..."

Please do!   Take it all!   This is a statement that some leaders may think has a positive influence because it implies taking control of a situation and getting the job done.  Unfortunately, it also takes away responsibility from others and makes them feel you lack confidence in their abilities.  Delegate effectively. 

Another way of saying this: “I can see you are having some difficulty with this, let’s plan out your next steps together.” 

4. "Don't take this the wrong way..."

By saying this, rest assured that the person will take it the wrong way.  Statements like this scream that you are about to say something negative, or “constructive”,  and it is an attempt to cushion a statement or blunt its effect. However, this kind of communication also attempts to manipulate the person into feeling a certain way about your statement and is an attempt to control others.  Be direct. 

Another way of saying this: “This is what I observed…” or “ This is how it impacted me…” 

5. "Because I said so..."

Really?  Well then I will get right on it!  This kind of statement reminds us of a parent using their authority to demand compliance. You are not a parent to your team members. People respond best to leaders who allow them to think for themselves while still respecting the guidelines of the organization. And while it is ok to want to have respect as a leader, it should be earned and not demanded.  Using this phrase can frustrate employees and discourage them from seeking to understand why you are making a specific decision. 

Another way of saying this: “Let’s look at some alternative ways of getting this done” or “What is best for the client?”

6. "We have always done it that way..."

Old school.  Old ways.  Like a classic hotel that needs a re-model but does not want to change.  Creaky and dusty.  This statement implies that since you have always done things a certain way in the past that you must continue to do so in the future. You are not open to change and you seem incapable of adjusting to new ways of thinking.  Innovative thought goes right out the door. 

Another way of saying this: “Our current process has worked up to this point, so now we can look at some possible ways to improve it.”

Confident leadership comes from a place within yourself that is honest, transparent, and values-driven.  Every word that comes out of your mouth as a leader has impact.  Make each one count.  Be deliberate with your communication.  Think of why you are saying what you are saying and the outcome you want to have. 

Your organization deserves it.  Your team deserves it.  Your clients deserve it.  And you deserve to be heard.

Paul N. Larsen
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Paul partners with leaders across a variety of industries and within organizations of all sizes to build and expand their leadership strength with a deliberate purpose and cle ... Click for full bio

An Emerging Theme In Thematic Investing

An Emerging Theme In Thematic Investing

Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are popular vehicles for market participants looking to engage in thematic investing. Thematic investing looks to take advantage of future growth trends, including disruptive technologies. Given that forward-looking approach, stock-picking in the thematic universe is equally as hard, if not harder, than in traditional market segments.

Go back to the late 1990s, before the bursting of the Internet/technology bubble. Back then, investors stood an equal chance of selecting E-Toys over Amazon or some no longer in existence networking equipment maker over Cisco.

“History is littered with examples of prospering industries with no indication of which company will come to dominate the industry,” according to Nasdaq. “This suggests that successful thematic investing is more about selecting baskets of investments rather than single securities.”1

The ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF (DTEC) provides basket exposure to a broad swath of thematic investments. DTEC features exposure to not just one or two emerging technologies, but 10 such themes on an equal-weight basis.

Disruptive Efficiency

The 10 themes represented in DTEC are as follows: 3D printing, clean energy, cloud computing, cybersecurity, data and analytics, fintech, healthcare innovation, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile payments and robotics and artificial intelligence (AI).

Generally speaking, fund issuers have been quick to respond to disruptive and transformative technologies, bringing products to market to tap these themes. Prior to DTEC coming to market late last year, there were ETFs devoted exclusively to cloud computing, cybersecurity, robotics and other themes featured in DTEC. However, few use the basket approach to themes employed by DTEC.

Related: Getting Paid to Play The Energy Patch

February, a rough month for U.S. stocks, highlighted the advantages of DTEC's multi-theme methodology. Seven of the 10 themes found in the fund finished the month lower, but DTEC was able to outperform the S&P 500 on a monthly basis.

Focusing on individual themes can be rewarding over the long-term, but not all investors have the risk tolerance for such a strategy. Consider this: the Indxx Global Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Thematic Index jumped more than 48% in 2017. That type of performance is enough to seduce many investors, but that same benchmark slipped 7.60% in February, generating monthly volatility of 34.10%.Said another way, that robotics and AI index's February slide was more than triple the loss experienced by DTEC during the month.

More Advantages

While it probably is not accurate to call the indexes devoted to individual disruptive themes “old,” many use old school weighting methodologies. For example, the two largest components in the ISE Cloud Computing Index are Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN). Only two members of the S&P 500 have larger market values than Amazon while Netflix currently has a larger market cap than Wal-Mart (WMT) and McDonald's (MCD).

Holdings subject ot change as of 12/31/17

For its part, DTEC not only equally weights its 10 disruptive themes, but its 100 components as well, potentially reducing single stock risk in the process. As the chart below confirms, equally weighting stocks is rewarding across sectors and market capitalization segments.

Past performance does not guarantee future results

Annualized returns for the past 10 years show seven of the 11 S&P 500 sectors, when equally weighted, outperform cap-weighted equivalents, according to S&P. Three of those seven sectors – financial services, healthcare and technology – are prominent parts of DTEC's roster.

1 Source: Nasdaq Dec. 28, 2015 https://www.nasdaq.com/article/what-thematic-investing-is-and-its-strengths-and-risks-cm559209

2 Source: ETF Replay data


An investor should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing. To obtain a prospectus which contain this and other information call 866.675.2639 or visit www.alpsfunds.com. Read the prospectus carefully before investing.

An investment in the ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF (DTEC) may be subject to substantially greater risk and volatility than investments in larger and more mature technology companies.

There is no assurance that the market developments and sector growth based upon the themes discussed in the article will come to pass.

ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF shares are not individually redeemable. Investors buy and sell shares of the ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF on a secondary market. Only market makers or “authorized participants” may trade directly with the Fund, typically in blocks of 50,000 shares.

ALPS Advisors, Inc. (AAI) has engaged IRIS Werks, LLC (IRIS) to produce analysis and commentary on ALPS-advised ETFs. IRIS currently has a compensated business relationship with AAI. AAI is not affiliated with IRIS.

The content and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author and not the views and opinions of AAI.  In addition, AAI assumes no responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the content written by the author.

There are risks involved with investing in ETFs including the loss of money. Additional information regarding the risks of this investment is available in the prospectus. Past Performance is not indicative of future results.

The fund is new and has limited operating history.

ALPS Portfolio Solutions Distributor, Inc. is the distributor for the ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF. AAI is affiliated with ALPS Portfolio Solutions Distributor, Inc.

The author is not an investment professional and this article should not be considered investment advice. While the information and statistical data contained herein are based on sources believed to be reliable, the author takes no responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the content. Additionally, this article should not be relied on or be the basis for an investment decision. Information that is historical is not indicative of future results, and subject to change.

S&P 500®: A capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.

S&P SmallCap 600®: A capitalization-weighted index that measures the small-cap segment of the U.S. equity market.

S&P MidCap 400®: A capitalization-weighted index that measures the mid-cap segment of the U.S. equity market.

Indxx Global Robotics & Artifical Intelligence Thematic Index: The Indxx Global Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Thematic Index is designed to track the performance of companies listed in developed markets that are expected to benefit from the increased adoption and utilization of robotics and Artificial Intelligence ("AI"), including companies involved in Industrial Robotics and Automation, Non-Industrial Robots, Artificial Intelligence and Unmanned Vehicles.

Tom Lydon
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IRIS Co-Founder and Editor and proprietor of ETFtrends.com. Tom is a frequent contributor to major print, radio and television media including Forbes, The Wall Street Jou ... Click for full bio