Our choice of words matter. We can use words dis-empowering words such as: might, try, should, maybe and but or we can use empowering words such as: can, and, choose, and will. Which do you find yourself using more?
Scare resources in your organization? Low morale in your community or business? Listen for the cues for dis-empowered language. Have you heard people say… “We don’t have the resources”. “It’s one of too many priorities I can’t get done”. “It’s not my responsibility”. “That won’t work”. “I guess I’ll just do it myself”. “but…..”
Taking time to listen for dis-empowering words becomes the first step to empowerment. Third River Partners coaches it’s clients in the difference between dis-empowering and empowering language. Their supportive, values based leadership model turns teams from dis-empowerment to empowerment by noticing word choice. Words do matter.
What do you hear in your office? Do you hear these empowering words: can, explore, want, like, and will. As leaders we can shift our own language and then help others to use empowering language.For example:
“We don’t have the resources.” becomes “We can accomplish our goals with the resources we have.”
“It’s one of too many priorities I can’t get done.” becomes “I will manage my priorities and work with others to determine what we need to take off our plates for now.”
“It’s not my responsibility” becomes “Together we can get this done. I can help with…..”
“But, that won’t work” becomes ” We can explore the options AND make the best choice for our team with the resources we have”.
These slight shifts can empower a team, empower individuals and empower you. Which dis-empowering words do you use most frequently? I know the ones I use most often are “should” and “try”. I now explore the words that empower me and commit to applying them at work and home. (Notice how I did not say I would try to use the words that empower me!)
Thanks to Third River I’m paying more attention to my choice of words because “words do matter”.