Words create worlds. The words we think about and use create the world we live in. The words that leaders choose and use matter even more, because as a leader, we are creating a world for more than just ourselves. Let’s take a minute to explore what I mean, and more importantly, to create a leadership language that will change your personal and organizational world and results.
What This Means
The worlds we create with our leadership language are often called a culture. While culture is about what people do and how they respond, words do create that organizational world. If the words we hear around us are supportive, the culture will reflect that. If the consistent language is inclusive, people will likely feel included.
Words, lead to thoughts, which lead to actions. Collectively those three things form, shape, and maintain the world/culture of any group.
Leadership Language That Wins
What then is the leadership language that will consistently win for an organization or team? Here are a few examples.
- Ask. To ask implies curiosity, openness, and inclusion. Asking focuses on seeking answers rather than guessing, posturing or ego. How often do you ask or hear or ask earnest questions?
- Listen. Asking is important, and after you ask you must listen. But listening not only follows questions, it creates true conversation and builds relationships and trust.
- Believe. What do you believe in? Do you believe in those around you? Is the language you hear and use supportive, with an intent to support, build up and edify others and yourself?
- Empower. With belief and a positive expectancy, empowerment can thrive. Without them empowerment may be spoken as platitude, but not as a word that builds, inspires, and ignites passion and possibility.
- Possibility. Speaking of possibility, it is a word that focuses us forward. When we look for possibilities, we seek something valuable and look for something useful. A mental approach based on possibility encourages action rather waiting, wondering and worrying.
- Observe. To observe creates a sense of learning and promotes understanding. Assumptions, while seductive and seemingly efficient seldom give the short- or long-term results that can come from the open earnestness that a stance and approach of observation does.
- Collaborate. Creating a team is more than putting people in a group and calling them a team. True teamwork starts with a desire for an expectation of collaboration, where the results are far greater than what could ever be achieved alone.
- Focus. In a word full of activities, distractions and options, focus can calm, direct and marshal strength and resolve.
- Love. Love of the purpose, of the customer, of the team and of the individuals on the team give you a massive advantage compared to any other approach. The human spirit is ignited and sustained by love, both individually and collectively.
This is a short list, meant to be examples, and to provide a mental challenge for you. If you don’t have the culture or aren’t getting the results you want or need, reflect on and listen to your language and you will likely find the source of your dissatisfaction. As you change the words you consider and use, your results will begin to change too.
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