Every successful leader has their own way of communicating. The best have a powerful way of speaking, — they’ve learned how to make sure their words have positive impact.
Leadership communication is important because the things you say can have a ripple effect throughout your entire organization and even beyond.
Every leader needs to find and become fluent in a set of expressions that make people feel they matter and communicate belief in them. It’s a little bit different for everyone, but here are some examples:
“We” instead of “you” and “I.” Inclusive pronouns—“we” instead of “you” and “I”— empower others and communicate the importance of the team. They also emphasize equality and help bridge any distance between team members and leadership.
“What do you think?” instead of “This is what I’m thinking.” It’s easy to tell people what to do, but it’s an indirect way of saying you don’t have confidence in their judgment. Instead, let them know their ideas matter and that you believe them enough to help them stretch.
“I believe in you” instead of “Prove yourself.” Asking someone to prove themselves can come only from a place of distrust. When you instead express your belief in someone, you give them a chance to really prove what they’re capable of.
“Why not?” instead of “I don’t think so.” You never want to be the kind of leader who short-circuits a great idea or a new way of thinking. Work to stay open and agile enough to try new things and get new results. Don’t communicate a preference for doing the same old thing just because it gets you by.
“We can” instead of “we can’t.” Any positive message is always better than a negative. When you stay positive and work hard you can make it happen, but saying you can’t do something tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“Let’s give it a try” instead of “It will never work.” It’s important to give your people hope and to let them know you are willing to try something new. Trying and failing is a big part of every success story, and when you support bold choices you’re letting people know it’s OK to risk failure.
“You can count on me” instead of “It’s not my responsibility.” If they can’t count on you as a leader, your people will never respect you. Own your responsibility and your role as part of the team. It’s that simple and that profound and that important.
“Thank you” and “great job” instead of “OK.” When you thank people and acknowledge their efforts, even for something mundane, you are letting them know their work is noticed and appreciated. Few things make a person feel better or inspire them more.
Lead from within: Learn to speak like a powerful leader and be careful with your words, because they are the difference between your success and failure.
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