Leaders who read my blog, my social media posts, or have heard me as a keynote speaker know I believe the following to be fundamental truths regarding leadership communication:
- High caliber leaders use positive communication as opposed to negative. They strive not only to communicate in the positive, but they strive to be positive and to set a positive example.
- Words matter. The words you choose to use and the words you choose to lose as a leader and a business professional can make all the difference in terms of your success as well as the success of your team.
- High-hanging fruit matters. Successful leaders are willing to do the things that others may not be willing to do. They are willing to pay attention to things others might deem either too difficult or too much of stretch. They are willing to reach for the high-hanging fruit.
With these concepts in mind, I’ve been noticing how often even good leaders and experienced business professionals may inadvertently be coming across as negative or setting a negative tone.
- I hate brussel sprouts.
- I hate filing expense reports.
- I hate it when meetings start late.
- I hate conference calls on speaker phone (I’m guilty of saying this one).
- I hate conducting performance appraisals.
- I hate it when people act like deadlines don’t matter.
These statements have an obvious common trend. It’s the “I hate.” Hate is a VERY strong word and many leaders use it far too cavalierly, far too frequently, and, often inaccurately or unnecessarily. Do you really HATE a food item? Or, would it be more accurate to say “I don’t like the taste?” Do you really HATE when meetings start late or is it more accurate to say, “I feel disrespected” or, “I feel annoyed when meetings start late?” I believe the word hate ought to be used sparingly and only for those things worthy of one of our strongest negative emotions.
Do you ever casually use the phrase “I hate?” If so, you might be sending a far more negative message than you intend. You may be sending a signal to your employees that it is ok to be negative. You might be sabotaging your success as a leader, an executive, a team member, or a business owner.
Make it your goal to reach for some high-hanging fruit as a leader. Make a conscious effort to minimize your use of the phrase “I hate.” Our world is full of far too much of it already.
If you could benefit from learning more communication skills like these to be a better leader, team member, and top performer, join us for a webinar on Best Kept Communication Secrets August 18th.
Pamela Jett is a communication skills and leadership expert who knows that words matter! In her keynote presentations, workshops, books and online learning programs, she moves beyond communication theory into practical strategies that can be implemented immediately to create the kind of leadership, teamwork, and employee engagement results her clients want.