Could it be that simple? Could there really be 3 words that I don’t have to get a dictionary to understand and that can actually make me a better leader? Well…Yes. It is that simple, but I must warn you these words are powerful and if used correctly will most likely change YOU so be prepared. Now as I reveal this list to you, you must realize that 2 truths: 1) You have to use these words for them to work, and 2) You have to be genuine when you use them. If you can get that, then you will no doubt, be a better leader because of them.
- We: Yes, in fact most of these words are short, but we is one of the greatest words a leader can use. A leader recognizes 2 things distinctly – All success comes from their team, and they are a part of their team, not above them. When you as manager or boss start using the word we to describe your success, “Were you able to land that big account, Ted?” “Yes. We were able to show them great value” to describe your challenges “I know you are frustrated, but we can figure this out together” and to describe your vision or mission “We want to change lives by providing them with a strategic path to becoming better leaders”; then people start to feel like they belong. This raises engagement, purpose and tenacity as we as humans (see what I did there) are much more willing to fight for a team that they feel connected with. Using we sends a clear message to everyone on your team, “I am on my way to the top but I’m only going if you come with me!”
- Let’s: I know I know this is technically 2 words but keep it down. Let’s, as in ‘Let’s go’, ‘Let’s do this’, ‘Let’s get started’, signals to your team that you are going to be a part of the trial and error, the not-so-fun part of the project as much as you are a part of the completion. Now I know that everyone has distinct roles within a team, but saying something like. “Okay well it looks like we will need to rerun those numbers and get them out by Thursday. Let’s start on that today and review them together on Wednesday. Will you let me know if you need my help on that?” sounds much better than, “Okay well it looks like we need to rerun those numbers and get them out by Thursday. Tim, you get those done and get them to me by Wednesday so I can critique your work.” Simple yet effective.
- Will: No not the name and not the estate document, I’m talking about the verb connotating a request. Will you be able to do this by Thursday? Will this be a problem for you? Will you please start working on this pronto? “Will” is a softer deliver. I know that my high D’s on the DISC scale are yelling at me right now. Those are the ones of you that send 1 word emails and want bullet points on everything. You are all saying, “Caleb that stuff is just fluff! Just say what you need to say and get it over with.” News flash! That makes you a boss not a leader. Leaders understand that while they should have a certain level of directness, it also takes a bit of finesse. Starting your request with will gives the feeling of free given effort, which is important to people. It is ultimately important your team has that. There may be consequences if they exercise that freedom to choose not to comply but still they have it and giving them a sense that you are genuinely requesting their assistance is much more palatable than a direct order.
These words or descriptions are not ground breaking or magic, but these three simple words send a clear message to your team that you understand their importance and your role in the team and they are a constant reminder that even as the boss or manager you are still a part of the team. These simple emotions will allow for deeper connections, higher engagement and lead ultimately to raising your leadership lid.
Caleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242