Leaders: Watch Your Words

We all have words ringing in our ears.


If you take just a moment to think about it, I’m sure you can quickly recall some of those words.


Whether it was an offhand comment, a bold-faced accusation, or a gracious and heartfelt compliment – we’ve all been told something before that has lodged in our memory permanently. The power of words is remarkable. Spiteful jabs that hit a nerve, hurtful comments that pierce our core, or sweet accolades that bring a smile to our face – words are so easily burned into our memories.


As leaders, it is absolutely critical that we be aware of the power of our words. Leader and author Lysa TerKeurst puts it this way:


“We must watch our words. And not just watch them, control them. Wrangle them. Boss them around. Set them straight. Leaders must, must, must recognize what can happen when we use words the wrong way OR when we allow an environment to develop where words are used the wrong way.”


Leaders must not only watch their own words, they must pay attention to how words are used in their organization. The words spoken in your organization have an incredible impact – either positive or negative.


Guide the everyday language spoken in your organization. Make sure constructive criticism really is constructive, not destructive. Ensure that office banter is friendly, not cutting. Remember that well-chosen words can be both corrective and encouraging, professional and friendly, humorous and appropriate.


Most importantly, set an example. People really do “follow-the-leader,” so set the standard high and be an excellent example of how words can and should be used to build up and not tear down. Words are powerful… use them well.



NielsenCopyright © 2013 by Dan Nielsen – www.dannielsen.com

National Institute for Healthcare Leadership – www.nihcl.com

America’s Healthcare Leaders – www.americashealthcareleaders.com

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