6 Suprising Words Leaders Should Say More Often

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Updated from February 15, 2013 post

4 days of strategic planning with the leadership team from the Willow Creek Association has reminded me of many important leadership truths.

But none have been more important than this- “Words matter”.

And, as I wrote in this earlier post, the types of words leaders use can make all the difference in the world.

 

“Forward!”

“Faster!”

“Results!”

“Vision!”

“Passion!”

“Innovate!”

These are some of the power words of leadership.

But effective leaders know there are also other words that must be part of their communication repertoire as well. They tend to be counter intuitive, and they may not seem to have the same sense of drive.

Yes, there are many times when leaders must use the “power words” to drive organizations and movements to achieve goals and to hit targets.

But if you’re going to lead a healthy organization, and more importantly, if you’re going to lead healthy people, these words are essential.

What are these surprising leadership words?

1.   “Sorry”

Sometimes leaders just get things wrong. And when they do it’s a mark of a leaders’ character when they can authentically stand before their people and simply apologize.

2.   “Think”

Effective leaders call the best out of their people by challenging them to engage their most important skill; their mind.

3.   “Relax”

From time to time the best way to improve performance is to recognize when it’s time for people to simply take a break.

4.   “Help”

In healthy organizations a leader will easily and comfortably ask for assistance from his team mates, and will be just as quick to offer help.

5.   “Enough”

When is it time for your people to stop tinkering on a project? Sometimes your job is to let them know the project is fine as it is.

6.   “Enter”

Usually this word is expressed far more informally, such as “Come on in” or “My door’s open.” Effective leaders create an atmosphere of trust and understanding by keeping the lines of communication open. And one of the best ways they do that is by encouraging personal interaction.

Pay attention to the words you use.

Do they convey urgency and a drive towards achieving goals?

Good. Leaders’ words should do that.

But remember, they should also create the environment in which healthy teams can flourish.

And while that might require a whole new set of words to master, the results will be worth it.

What would you add to this list?

the author

Scott Cochrane

Vice President- International, Global Leadership Network. Love Jesus, Nora, Adam & Robin, Amy, Dave, Willow & Olive and John, Fiona & Will. Lifelong learner.

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