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The 4 Most Important Words in Leadership Development

Two words are "no-nos"; the other two are positive game-changers

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If you’re an entrepreneur used to working on your own, you may not give much thought to your words’ impact on people. But if your entrepreneurship has turned into a full-fledged business with employees, managers and coffee makers, you may have to rethink your stance.

Words matter. Using just a single ill-advised word here or an off-putting word there can make the difference between a pleasant, productive discussion and a negative exchange that can have lasting repercussions.

This is particularly true in business leadership situations, where a single word can make or break an interaction between a leader and an employee or team member. Words matter so much because they can determine whether or not your leadership is effective. At a minimum, the wrong word can decrease your degree of leadership effectiveness when you’re working so diligently to optimize it.

The truth is that effective leadership is all about achieving results through relationships. Senior leaders are in a position to have to get the bulk of work done through others. Otherwise, they have no time to work on vision and strategic objectives — i.e., looking out on the horizon for what is needed longer-term to attain the long-term vision. With this in mind, words become the master sail, guiding conversations to take the best path to performance.

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