Words do Matter

I loved being a salesperson. To me it was great fun, often rewarding and almost always very profitable. When I was offered my first sales manager position I just assumed that would be even more fun.

I didn’t receive much coaching (okay, I received no coaching) on what being a manager entailed so I just kept doing pretty much what I was doing before. I also kept talking pretty much as I did before.

I was completely unaware that being in a leadership position meant my choice of words was now somehow more important. They carried more weight. It mattered more not only what I said but how I said it. It really really mattered who I said it to.

If I have struggled with one thing throughout my entire career it is understanding that fact.

The fact that words matter. The fact that when you’re in a leadership role or higher profile position, your words matter even more.

If you’ve earned the opportunity to influence others by leading then you need to understand that also means you have an obligation to do so in a responsible manner. I know full well what a challenge that can be, after all, you’re still just you. Why should your words matter more? Your role in the organization may have changed but you haven’t.

You need to get over yourself and accept the fact that choosing your words carefully is one of the sacrifices (if it’s even a sacrifice) true leaders willingly make. You can’t just say you’re a leader and you can’t just act like a leader, you need to BE a leader.

I don’t think I need to go into great detail here about why your words matter. Pretty much everyone knows that words matter; they know they can be hurt by words and they know that they can be lifted up by words too. The trouble starts when you apply those truths to other people’s words but not yours own.

If you are a leader then here is a leadership fact that you must always keep in mind: not only do your words matter, they matter more than most people’s because you’re a leader.

If you want to improve your leadership then improve your choice of words!

9 thoughts on “Words do Matter

  1. Obvious but overlooked topic; our choice of words. What we say, how we say it (tone, inflection, cadence, body language, etc.) when we say it, saying it in a way that the other person wants to hear it or read it, and whether or not to say it all. Perhaps not saying a thing. Instead, modeling the way in regards to the behavior you want to instill in your team.

    • Geez, I can’t even count the times when saying nothing would have been better than saying whatever it was that I said.

      Sometimes the very best thing to say is indeed nothing but many times people lack the confidence required to remain quiet. And yes, I really do think it is easier to just say “something” rather than remain thoughtfully quiet.

  2. thenrick says:

    Our words are important and people do listen to them. When we are in a leadership role they can have more affect to our team than we may realize. The mistakes we make as leaders can have consequences and we need to own up to them right away. Honestly admitting your failures and moving on give the team willingness to work with you.

    • Thanks for your comment. It is spot on! I’ve been known to say dumb, I try to not make it “dumber” by pretending it wasn’t dumb or by hiding from my mistake. Leaders need to quickly realize their mistake, admit it and move on to grow their team.

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