One of the goals of a leader should be to encourage, strengthen and challenge a team to continually improve. Almost as cheerleaders rousing the crowd at a game, leaders use their influence to bring out the best in others. Consequently, there are some things leaders should say frequently.
Much of the culture of the organization is set by the things we say as leaders. The vocabulary of a leader helps shape the culture and atmosphere of the team. The statements we make as leaders carry great weight with the people we are leading.
I even think we should intentionally include certain statements regularly in our language.
Here are seven statements leaders should make frequently to underlings:
1. I believe in you. Don't say it if you don't mean it. That's not helpful. But hopefully, as a leader, you are surrounding yourself with people in whom you do believe. Tell them. Everyone needs to know this, but in my experience, this is even more important the newer the person is on the team.
2. You are an asset to this team. Let them know they make a difference. One of the best ways to do this is by bragging on people when they do something well in front of the rest of the team. Even the most introverted person enjoys this kind of recognition.
3. I've got your back. If you are an empowering leader—and you should be—then people are stepping out on their own and taking risks for the benefit of the organization. They need to know you support them—even when mistakes are made.
4. You did a great job. If they did, tell them. Never miss an opportunity to give post-project encouragement. Celebrating wins encourages the team and more wins.
5. I want to help you reach your personal goals. This could even mean the person would no longer be on your team if they did, but it protects their loyalty while they are; this type of environment welcomes the highest caliber of leaders. They are willing to work with you because they know you won't attempt to hold them back from their own goals—in fact, you will encourage them.
6. I respect you for _______. Be specific. What is it that impresses you about this team member? What do they uniquely add to the team? Tell them. The power of this one is exponential.
7. I trust you. This one requires more than words. You'll have to prove it with your actions. When a team member feels trusted by the leader, they are more willing to take risks. They will have more loyalty to the leader—trusting the leader in return. And they will be more likely to overlook the days you aren't leading quite as well.
You may not be able to use these phrases every day. You shouldn't overuse them. They need to be genuine, heartfelt and honest. These aren't even intended to be used every week. But, as often as you can, slip a few of these into your memory bank and pull them out when appropriate. They will help you build a better team.
As a consultant and coach, for almost 20 years, Ron Edmondson has helped thousands of leaders and organizations get better. He served as CEO of Leadership Network and as a pastor. He helped revitalize two churches and planted two churches. He also has a long history in business, government and nonprofit work.
For the original article, visit ronedmondson.com.
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