The best leaders I know are always learning. Part of my growth as a leader has been developing of a leadership vocabulary. It’s something I try to monitor and continually be aware of as I attempt to lead others.
I once sat in on a leadership meeting for another organization. I didn’t feel I had the relationship to do so, but I left sincerely hoping someone would speak into this leader’s life and that he would be willing to learn.
This leader had a terrible leadership vocabulary.
Part of maturing as a leader is developing a language which will help the organization and it’s team members achieve greatest success.
Here are some examples of a good leadership vocabulary:
“Why not?” more than “I don’t think so”.
“Our” more than “My”.
“We” more than “I”.
“Thank you” more than “You’re welcome”.
“Let’s do it” more than “We’ve never done it that way before”.
“I believe in you” more than “Prove yourself”.
“Here’s something to think about” more than “I command you to”.
“What do you think?” more than “Let me think about it”.
“How can we?” more than “This is the way”.
“We are a team” more than “my team”.
“Yes” when empowering other people’s ideas – more than shutting them down.
“I take full responsibility” more than “I’m not responsible”.
“They work with me” more than “They work for me”.
Great leaders understand the power of their words. The things they say develop the culture of the organization, team member’s perceptions of their individual roles, and the overall health and direction of the organization. Great leaders, therefore, choose their words carefully and develop a leadership vocabulary.
Have you ever thought about or examined the words you use? It might make a huge difference in how people feel about following your leadership.