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7 Things Good Leaders Say Often And Naturally

7 Things Good Leaders Say Often And Naturally

Nelson Mandela is widely regarded as one of the greatest leaders of all time!

Quite often when you get to know someone you start recognising certain phrases they use repeatedly. In fact, you may even catch yourself borrowing from their speaking patterns after a while.

In my last article I shared 3 Simple Phrases a Good Leader Would Hardly Reach For and Why. In this one, I share some commonly used phrases among good leaders and why they are so potent.

“Thank you”

One of the most important things a leader can offer their team is sincere gratitude for their contribution. Having command of the team’s effort is a lot of power to wield. Showing appreciation for that effort is an act of humanity and good leadership. Indeed, it could easily be the difference between a great job and an OK job. Showing gratitude – to a team or an individual – communicates more than an acknowledgement of skill and diligence. Because people view their contributions as part of themselves, gratitude translates to placing value on the individual (or team) concerned.

“How can I help you?”

This is not just a question. It’s a powerful statement. It says “I am at your service.” On its own, this statement nullifies any status barriers to effective communication. A good leader knows their status may stifle communication and they take steps to counteract this. Some will serve the occasional office treat. There’s yet another statement in this question. “I’m available.” Good leaders consider themselves a resource to those around them and thus make it a priority to make themselves accessible towards this. True, the open-door policy approach has been in vogue for quite a while but true availability is self-evident. A good leader may block off time in a busy schedule to avail themselves to their team, or just seize the occasional opportunity to this end.

“What do you think of..?”

Asking for an opinion is a powerful gesture coming from a leader. There’s no better way to show regard for someone else’s viewpoint than to ask for it. Moreover, this is a practical way to gain information and insights from colleagues. A good leader does not claim to know it all and often relies on the opinions and judgements of colleagues in making decisions.

“How can we?”

This question may be directed at an individual or a team. It differs from “how can I?” or “how can you?” in the sense that the word “we”, locates the speaker and the audience in the same work-group. It’s a practical way of saying “We’re a team” or “Let’s work together.”

“How are you?”

Personal connections are inevitable when people work together over time. You learn each other’s kid’s names and where they go to school, hobbies and personal life stories. Leaders are no different and in this sense they genuinely care about the well-being of their team members, having nourished real relationships with them. They know each other well enough to read behaviours that suggest something might be wrong. Or they may be close enough to know the exact problem. In any case, the question demonstrates the fact that good leaders care for their team members individually. This level of care strengthens relationships within teams.

“I’ll leave it with you”

There’s nothing like knowing you’re trusted. Trust is the fibre that holds healthy relationships – both at work and outside – in place. Good leaders seize every opportunity extend it. The statement “I’ll leave it with you” is a show of trust and confidence in the abilities of the person (or team) concerned. Much of my thoughts on trust have been shaped by the teachings of author and motivational speaker Stephen M. R. Covey. In his book titled “The speed of Trust”, he takes an in-depth look at trust, exploring why it matters, its different types and components, how it’s built, broken and restored. His conclusion is simple: Trust enhances productivity, by far.

See Also

“I’m sorry”

Last but not least, leaders – like everyone else – falter. And when this happens, good leaders have the humility to reach for these words. More than acknowledging a fault, the statement says “I too am only human.” A truth a less humble leader may struggle to admit.

To Sum Up

In reality, these phrases don’t magically make someone a better leader. Anyone on the receiving end will unconsciously test for legitimacy – reconciling the phrase to who they perceive the leader to be. These phrases represent thoughts that are integrated into a good leader’s character. Good leaders are:

  • Grateful,
  • At the service of those around them,
  • Limited in their knowledge,
  • Natural collaborators,
  • Caring,
  • Trusting and
  • First to admit a fault and apologise.

I hope you enjoyed this read.

As always, please share your thoughts in the comment section.

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