Berger Leadership Blog

Jul 11, 2014

What leaders need to say (and not say)

NAFCU gov-comm meeting1
NAFCU's weekly government affairs and communications team meeting.

How a leader talks to his or her team can either spur them to success or hinder their development. We control how we respond and verbalize our thoughts, so it’s up to us to act wisely.

To make it easier, gives a list of phrases and challenges the reader to try to say each of them daily to at least one person. The list includes:

- “This is the situation.” Let people know what’s going on.

- “What do you need?” These four words let people know that you care about them and want to see them maximize their potential.

- “Tell me more.” When we are quiet we are likely to hear more ideas from others.

- “I trust you.” Don’t have people on your team that you don’t trust.

Another phrase I think is important to use when necessary: “I was wrong.” A leadership article on LinkedIn states that being upfront and honest and admitting you’re wrong to your team will only lead to greater mutual respect.

While these, and more, are phrases we should put into practice, there are also some phrases we should stop using – immediately. lists seven of them. Here are a few:

- “Don’t take this wrong but …” Before you start to speak, make sure you can articulate well what you are trying to say.

- “It’s not my fault.” Leaders need to take responsibility when things go wrong.

- “That’s just the way I am.” If you want your team to grow and change, you need to lead by example.

I, too, must continue to work on incorporating more of these phrases into my everyday speech and weeding others out.