Speak the Language of Leadership

Great leaders are great communicators. Through their choice of words, leaders are able to connect with others, transition through change, and help teams succeed. Because of this, the words, phrases, stories, and examples leaders choose are very important. Such leadership language must be clear, invigorating, respectful and, perhaps most importantly, consistent with the leader’s beliefs and actions. Leadership language must energize people to take action toward a shared vision. If you were born a powerful communicator, you’re off to a strong start. But if not, engaging in an effective leadership conversation can be daunting.

So, what can you do to become an even better leader/communicator? Easy, establish your own leadership language. Don’t worry if you don’t have a career full of stories with thrilling impact (great if you do – and you probably have more stories than you realize – stop and think about them!), or a list of examples that apply to various leadership challenges (but do get that list started). What you can do, immediately, is adopt a set of leadership questions and statements that apply to almost any leadership situation e.g., group meetings, individual conversations, even written correspondence. A few are presented in the graphic below; be sure to add your own. And to become a leadership language master, try these three simple tips:

  1. Review your leadership language graphic before and after your leadership conversations
  2. Use the language frequently and sincerely (get some feedback if you dare)
  3. Always aim your leadership language at helping others to succeed

If you do so, you will be speaking the real language of leadership.