The Seven Powers of Words

Talking

Complaining says stop or improve, but doesn’t improve anything. Encouraging points to behaviors or attitudes to continue, but doesn’t continue anything.

The danger of talking is it feels like doing.

The biggest waste of words:

It feels good to get something off your chest. But, “off your chest” conversations are pleas for affirmation not expressions of leadership.

Weak leaders run around getting things off their chest. It’s self-centered, self-indulgent, and self-defeating. Leadership is about them not you.

Talk is useful because it’s the environment of action.

The 7 powers of words:

  1. Connect. Words that create connection are about others not you. Trust is the predecessor and indicator of connection.
  2. Persuade. Spend more time connecting and it will take fewer words to persuade. Convincing others is about them, not you.
  3. Focus. It’s normal to focus on what matters. Leaders explain what matters now.
  4. Open. Nothing opens hearts and minds better than questions. Statements invite scrutiny. Questions invite exploration.
  5. Guide. Leadership language centers on next steps. Anyone can explain where you’ve been. Leaders describe where you’re going.
  6. Correct: Tell people what isn’t working in regards to relationships and results.
  7. Affirm. Affirmation creates stability by encouraging repetition. Excellence requires positive feedback.

Bonus: The biggest danger of words is their power to take away power – to de-motivate.

Too much criticism:

Rather than “don’t like” say “I’d like.”

Courageously use words that express what you want. It’s safe to criticize, correct, and complain – to say what you don’t want or like.

Solutions are courageous self-declarations.

Successful leaders work toward solutions with others. Cowards, like drive by shooters, criticize from the sidelines.

3 questions that transform wasted talk:

  1. What do you want?
  2. Where does it take us?
  3. How can we get there?

I’ve listed seven powers of words. What can you add to the list?

What are your favorite leadership words?

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