Language of a Leader

The incredible power of the language we use is widely researched and proven to have a profound effect on our mood, mindset, results and reality. As humans, we use words to communicate not just a thing, but a feeling and a whole concept. It is immensely complex, and our entire life experience will create individual associations to certain words.

While CONTEXT is hugely important and can affect the meaning, mostly our mind will focus on the words with the most intense emotional or experiential attachment to them.

There is an underlying feeling and therefore meaning within these words, that both YOU experience, as does the RECEIVER. It is highly complex, so I trust you can indulge my simplification:

“Sorry” = ‘I’ve done something wrong.’

“Lack” = ‘I’m deficient in some way.’

“Hope” = ‘I’ll leave it somewhat to chance.’

“Busy” = ‘I have too much to handle.’

“Late” = ‘I’m irresponsible.’

Many of you will have slightly, (or very) different associations to the above which is entirely reasonable. What you can safely assume, is as a general ‘rule of thumb’, something similar to the above will apply. Either in your mind or the receivers.

With a little practise in extra consideration of planning conversations and emails, you will see an improvement of:

  • Engagement & relationships
  • Outcomes & results
  • Mindset & moods

Not only are the below shifts empowering, they;

  • Are more effective
  • Indicate self-awareness
  • Demonstrate self-leadership
  • Gratitude & growth-focused
  • Cultivate a positive mindset

These are not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ ways to speak. They are disempowering vs empowering. For the sake of this article, I will use and encourage a ‘Stop’ and ‘Replace’ labelling format.

STOP — “Please excuse my lack of…”

REPLACE- “I appreciate your patience with…”

[Feeling shift; to gratitude]

STOP — “Sorry, I don’t understand…”

REPLACE — “Can I ask that you help me clarify…”

[Communication shift; from curiosity and authority]

STOP — “I hope you’re well.”

REPLACE — “How did this your meeting with ‘x’ go?

[Demonstrates; genuine interest]

STOP — “I’m too busy…”

REPLACE — “My top priorities right now are… let’s discuss an appropriate timeline.”

[Indicates; Leadership of self and others]

STOP. — “Sorry, I’m late…”

REPLACE — “Thanks for your patience, next time I will…”

[Commands; Action to change old behaviour both to self and others]

Tell yourself now, that on each occasion you are tempted to use these that you will remember the alternatives. You can trust your subconscious mind to take care of the rest!

I am very deliberate with my use of language now and have removed some words almost entirely from my vocabulary. Some of these words which I encourage you to be cautious of their overuse and context include:

  • But
  • Try
  • Should
  • Can’t
  • Unfortunately

Whether you are in sales, leadership, customer service, or looking to be overall more productive and demonstrate confidence and capability, I recommend implementing the above suggestions. You will swiftly feel and experience more power, self-confidence, and co-operation from others.

Share with me your language refinement tips. I would love to hear yours.