As a leader your use of words is by far the most influential tool you have for controlling and influencing those you lead. Your words define the culture of the organization. The question is not whether your organization has a culture, but what kind of culture you have created or are creating?
Let us look at some ways in which your words help create the culture of your organization.
Respect and value for every person. If people are treated with respect and are valued by you as their leader, that will eventually become part of the culture of the organization. Words such as, please, thank you, you are welcome, I appreciate what you do around here, if used frequently by you, the leader, to those you lead, will eventually be modeled by your followers. In the same way if you tolerate or engage in disrespecting and devaluing of others, that is what will take hold in your organization.
Trust. Trust in your organization is determined largely by how trusting you are with those you lead. If you are consistently second guessing, or do not think people can get things done without being micromanaged, then the trust level will be very low. And a lot of that mistrust is created by the way you speak to your followers.
Another way you build trust is to be a leader who keeps your word. Follow through on promises.
Giving and receiving feedback. This sets the tone for how open your followers are going to be with you and each other when it comes to giving honest feedback on issues in the organization. If you are the kind of leader who is always right and never open to correction by or suggestions from your followers, then be assured that this will be reflected throughout the organization. On the other hand when you invite those you lead to give you feedback, openness and honesty will be encouraged throughout the organization. How often do you say – and really mean – things such as the following?
“I am open to hear what you have to say.”
“I am open to some guidance here.”
“Does anyone have some ideas to make this better or a better idea altogether?”
Unity and team spirit. Millions are spent annually to develop and create unity and team spirit in organizations. Too often the training is short lived because some leaders, while claiming to want unity and team spirit, use words which indicate otherwise. When leaders consistently use words such as you, them, they and you people to refer those they lead, and words such as me and mine, those words do not convey unity or team spirit. You must be intentional in using collective words such as, us, we and ours for your followers to feel they are part of the team. Some leaders are good at using collective pronouns when talking about success but revert to you, them and you people when dealing with failures and challenges. Greater unity and team spirit are facilitated by well-chosen words.
The culture you find at work each day is the one you as leader have created or are creating. Do you have the kind of culture that attracts people to want to work for you? Do a culture check-up on the organization by asking about such things as trust, team spirit, giving and receiving feedback and the value of the person.
A healthy culture makes for a healthy workplace, and a healthy workplace makes for a productive workplace.
If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.