Management and Leadership in Nonprofits


I will never do that

Jul 22, 2020
By: Tammy T. Jelinek

I am sure we have all uttered the words “I will never do that when I am the leader.” Then you do it – you do “that.”

What leadership teaches us is that we will do what say we will never do – sometimes because we must and sometimes because we chose.

I have heard some popular “I never” phrases including:

  • I would never hire a consultant; we do not need an outsider telling us what to do
  • I would never promote from within; we need fresh talent all the time
  • I will never re-hire an employee who left
  • I will never make that mistake
  • I will never micro-manage
  • I will never let others do what I know I can do faster myself
  • I will never lose my temper (or insert showing any type of emotion here)
  • I will never get too attached
  • I will never (insert something you heard or even said here)

The thing about never is that at the time you might mean it. Then you get experience, pressures, connections, involved, tired – you bring human into leadership.

I have learned that about the time I say a definitive like “I never,” the leadership fairies like to give me an “oh really, you think so” opportunity to prove me wrong. Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon?!?!

Wipfli is starting our first virtual conference experience.

The keynote kicked it off Tuesday, July 14th. We had explored a lot of options in training in the past. And although we never said never when it came to offering a virtual conference experience in the future, I would have never thought we would present it from our homes. That the keynote would not wear shoes because she could stand up and move more freely than in heels. That one of my colleagues would wear shorts – because who will know (until he crossed his leg on camera and then everyone knew). And so many more. However, just because we never thought something, it happened. We reacted. We learned.

Never is a finite word. Use with caution.

If you would share some of your famous “I never” moments, we would like to hear about them.


Tammy T. Jelinek, MBA
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