“I” is a tricky word. At one end of the word use continuum, it conveys authenticity, caring and courage. It draws people in. At the other end, it’s grating, shamelessly egotistical, commanding and off-putting. It pushes people away.
As a leader, it’s up to you to decide if you want to pull people toward you and your ideas, or push them away.
10 Rules for Saying “I”
Utter “I” when…
1) The idea you’re presenting is solely and completely your own, not one iota poached from anywhere or anyone
2) You’re the one totally at fault and responsible for making amends
3) You want feedback on how you’re doing
4) You, and only you, did all the work - every single itty-bitty piece of it
5) Your department made the mistake of the century
6) You’re sharing your personal opinion, speaking exclusively for yourself
7) You’re listening and asking clarifying questions to help solve a problem
8) It’s one of those situations, like a job interview or requesting a raise, when tooting your horn (truthfully and sincerely, of course) is most appropriate
9) You’re sticking up for yourself, confidently making your position clear and perhaps sharing self-knowledge to do so
10) You want to let someone know how much they mean to you