Leadership Skills in the Workplace
Maintaining Gains Made
09 The Power of Your Words
Help leaders understand the power of their words. Choose positive thoughts and words in order to improve your influence.
One definition of leadership is influencing a group of people to move towards its goal. If leadership ability is at least partially determined by easily and to what degree you can influence others, how can a leader proactively create more influence over others? How can a person become more influential and have a greater ability to pull people in a particular direction without using power or force, which are only marginally effective?
The most important ways to garner influence are the simple ways, simple human relations principles. One of the most critical influence tools any would-be leader has is a positive attitude. People are drawn to and follow those who are positive. Negative attitudes never draw people.
Positive means that the leader’s words and actions are positive. People who look on the bright side and can make the best, even of a bad situation, are those who become leaders with subtle power to influence others. People respond to positive and encouraging words; they get more motivated and they perform better. They follow the leader who is positive.
You always have a choice about how you view any situation. Of course, it’s easy to have a positive attitude when things are going well. When things are a mess, you can beat yourself and everyone else up with talking about how awful things are and trying to assign blame. This will increase the downward spiral, low energy, and poor motivation.
OR when things are a mess, you can choose to view it differently. Don’t tell yourself bad things, and don’t tell other people bad things. Instead, be sure that you ask others questions like:
What elements are still working here? Even in this mess, what’s going right?What can we learn from this?What good could come out of this? How can we make something good come out of this?
Negative, critical words will produce negative results. Positive words will produce positive results. It’s that simple. Even negative words that are well-intentioned are perceived negatively by others, never doubt that. Your words can hurt or heal. When your words heal, people will gladly follow your lead.
Questions for Group Discussion
- Think of a time when something difficult happened in your life. At the time it seemed impossible and discouraging. But as you look back on it, something positive came out of it. Share that experience.
- Think of something difficult or challenging that is happening now in your organization or department. What is your general attitude about it? What potential good could come out of this challenge?
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