Words: Powerful weapons in the hands of great leaders!

Now it has been more than four years that I’ve been back in Curacao, after studying for about four years in the Netherlands. I still cherish the great friendships and experiences I gained. But while reflecting on that exceptional time in my life, I can’t forget some unpleasant experiences. One of those was the feeling I always had when leaving the office of my thesis supervisor. I don’t know how, but this guy almost always managed to leave me feeling unmotivated and disappointed. With time I learned how to filter his feedback, to get the positive aspects and move on. I don’t think he was a mean person, but the sound and structure of his words didn’t motivate me to finish my thesis.

So how do your team members feel when they leave your office? Do you manage to motivate them and help them build their confidence with the words you use? Or are you an expert in breaking them down into pieces, causing them to become more insecure with each day? As a leader, you have a great responsibility when communicating with others. And if you want to become a great leader, you will need to take this responsibility seriously. The way you communicate with people may mark them forever. So be aware and do your best to leave a great legacy in people’s lives.

Know the power of your words

In my view, great leaders are aware of the power of their words. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in their leader. A great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” Great leaders know the art of using words to push their team members to become the best they can be. They are able to inspire and motivate their team by communicating clearly and properly. Darlene Price, author of Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results, says, “With your words, you wield the power to plant seeds of either success or failure in the mind of another, and in the process you reveal who you are, how you think, and what you believe.… Whether, it’s inspiring a nation, launching a product, building a team, or mending a relationship, the right words spoken at the right time can change history.”  

Words that motivate

Words are powerful weapons that carry immeasurable significance. If you want to be a leader who inspires and motivates your team, you need to think about the words that motivate your team. It is necessary for you to adjust your vocabulary to be able to have the positive influence you desire. Most of the time, leaders have a particular vision but are unable to communicate it properly to their team. Great leaders use the art of visualization to create a picture with their words. They are able to inspire and motivate others because they know exactly why they communicate, what they want to communicate, when to communicate, and whom they are communicating to. Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., among others, are great leaders who inspired change by mastering the power of words.

Here is a few words I found that can help you to motivate others in the workplace:

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Sentences that motivate

Another virtue of a great leader is the ability to enable team members to build confidence and make decisions. You may have an idea for how to solve a certain problem or issue, but in order to build the confidence of your team members, you have to be able to inspire them and motivate them to bring solutions without being dependent on you. Here are some sentences you can use: I don’t have an answer. Do you have any suggestions? Show me what you have there! What does the team think? Let’s do this! Let’s assume we are missing something. Tell me more. We will get through this.  

Try to avoid these

If you want to build a strong and motivated team, with high confidence in what they do, there are some words you have to avoid because they may cause negative feelings and stress—and thus, low performance. Here is language you should avoid according to my research:

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The “public secrets” for good communication

Say what you want to see
“You are amazing, guys.” “We can make it!” It is very important to be aware that we build a life by the words we say. So let us choose wisely and consciously, because we say what we think, and we become what we say.

Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out
We live in a time when everyone is extremely busy, which can sometimes cause us to speak without thinking. The words you say in hurried moments can create undesirable effects, so it is important to think before you speak.  As another quote says, “Quarrels end, but words once spoken never die.”

Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atomic bombs
There are some situations when you need to think extra hard before you speak. Can you remember a time when you were so mad that you knew the words you were about to speak could wound someone more badly than any kind of dangerous weapon? In those moments, silence speaks when words fail: It is better to keep silent until you are able to think clearly. Even if you are extremely mad, you may later regret what you said and the hurt it caused.  

Words are free. It’s how you use them that may cost you
Freedom is highly prized nowadays. We want to say what we want, when we want, and how we want. Fortunately, that is possible! As the first part of the quote says, words are free. But as the other part says, it’s how you use them that may cost you. “With words you can inspire, motivate and persuade, or you can discourage, dismiss and dissuade,” says Darlene Price. Whatever your choice, the consequences are yours, whether you want them or not.

Some days you wake up in a bad mood, but don’t mix bad words with your bad mood. You’ll have many opportunities to change a mood, but you’ll never get the opportunity to replace the words you spoke.

The way you communicate with your team, the words you use will influence their engagement and performance. We would be happy to be your partner in strengthening your leadership communication skills to unleash the best in your team.