There are many crucial parts of being considered a great leader. In this day and age, it includes how you conduct yourself on everything from Zoom to emails to social media. It matters what you say in-person to a colleague through to how you address the entire company at a meeting.
Actions may set the tone-- but words are just as (if not more) important.
Brene Brown who wrote Daring Greatly and Dare to Lead writes, ‘A brave leader is someone who says I see you. I hear you. I don’t have all the answers but I’m going to keep listening and asking questions.’
Let’s dive into the power of your words.
Words have the ability to motivate or discourage.
While there may be different styles of management, words from a leader are plain and simply either motivating or discouraging. Take a minute to think about what impact your words will make. Can you put yourself in their shoes for a minute? Use words that are uplifting. Don’t stray away from having the hard conversations, but think about how you’d like the situation to end and what words can get you there.
How it’s said is important.
Employees need to remain consistently fulfilled within their jobs. Recognition, reviews, and critique are essential in helping them grow and succeed with the company. The way in which employees are recognized, reviewed, and critiqued is equally as important. Words will stay with the employee much longer than you may think. Take the extra time to consider what processes you have in place around recognition and review.
Words can educate.
Words from a great leader share knowledge and expertise but also one’s vision and values. A leader’s words are able to educate others on what’s expected. As a leader, take a stance against hateful behavior and use words to clearly outline what you as a company support.
Words can persuade.
A leader’s job is to persuade a team or company to work towards a common goal. When things get tough, a leader has to step up and get everyone on track and motivated. When things are going well, a leader is there to congratulate everyone and keep their eyes on what’s ahead. Great leaders use their words to move people and instill confidence and hope. Irresponsible leaders use words that may instill uncertainty and fear.
Words fueled by empathy are needed.
From a global pandemic to racial injustice, the world needs some serious empathy. Leaders have the opportunity to recognize this and practice it. Empathetic leaders foster engagement and collaboration among staff, are better able to understand their target market, and are better able to predict the outcomes of critical decisions. Words will come easier when you embody other’s perspectives.
Don’t forget clarity.
To quote Brene Brown once more, she says -- ‘I always bring my core values to feedback conversations. I specifically bring courage, which means that I don’t choose comfort over being respectful and honest -- choosing politeness over respect is not respectful.’
Understanding the power of words means being clear and respectful even in a tough conversation. Being unclear and dancing around words in order to make yourself or someone more uncomfortable is ultimately a disservice to both of you. Don’t forget to bring clarity to all conversations.
Words are powerful and deserve time and attention. They can have profound effects on people. Great leaders use their words carefully and strategically and empower people while doing so. If you need help with crafting better messages and tailoring your words, get in touch with StellaPop’s management consulting team!