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Powerful Words That Create a Productive and Optimistic Life

Powerful Words That Create a Productive and Optimistic Life

“I can, I will, because I say so!”   My daughter, age 10 at the time, excitedly read me my supposed special battle cry (according to the Disney horoscope, that is.)  She was in awe at how Disney got it spot on since such words made up my regular pep talk when she felt discouraged.  Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) covers how neurology, language, and programming produce human experience. Words you say habitually create your reality.   State this positive battle cry regularly, believe it, and act on it.  Soon, you’ll begin writing “Done!” on tasks and projects in your To-Do list.  Practice using these other powerful words to create a productive and  collaborative mindset.

1. “I am  …”  The most powerful words that exist.

Far from merely stating a feeling or condition, these two powerful words actually create them. Be especially conscious of what you add to  “I am.”  Catch yourself saying these.  “I’m so upset. I’m annoyed. I’m sure they’ll say no.  I’m scared. I’m sick and tired of … ”  Switch and verbalize these instead.  “I’m able. I am well. I’m feeling good about this. I’m very pleased. I’m open to discussing …”

2. “I will.”

Intention and willingness spill out from “I will.”  You are willing to make the time to tend to someone or something.  When you say it to yourself, you affirm your capability and set your mind to doing the task.  When you say it to someone, it is synonymous to “Consider it done.”   Do not take these powerful words lightly.  Your credibility at work and in life increases with every “I will” that you actually accomplish.

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3. “I am confident. I believe.”

These powerful words immediately remove doubt.  When you are confident, there are no misgivings so you can begin straightaway. In a discussion, notice how the other person smiles and relaxes when you address his concern with “I believe we can do something about this.”  The words do not represent commitment. It means you are willing to consider and have sufficient knowledge of the situation to believe compromise is possible.

4. “I understand.”

Are you listening to instructions for a project?  Is your colleague venting about city traffic? Are your children complaining because you missed an important school event?  The words “I understand” apply to the three scenarios. The first requires comprehension; the second needs a listening ear; and the third calls for a commitment to prioritize your family.  “I understand” adds motivation and meaningful connection to your earlier “I will.”  It demonstrates empathy (versus “I know,” which can sound dismissive.)

5. “I don’t have the answers, but I will find out.”

This statement of negation spoken with honesty releases the power of a specific intention.  Not knowing presents a valuable opportunity to learn something new.  Having the courage to admit you don’t have the answers also removes pressure on your team to know everything all the time.  Such pressure can push people to pretend, with dire consequences. It’s acceptable not to have the answers, and then learn from it.  The next time a similar situation arises, you will definitely know how to respond.

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6. “YOU are right.  It’s my mistake.”

To honesty, now add humility.  Swallowing a piece of humble pie is not easy.  People will just as soon point at colleagues, suppliers, clients, the cat, the weather, or the planets rather than admit they are responsible for a problem.  These powerful words establish where the responsibility for the problem lies—a big step in finding the solution.  Unless someone has the humility to say these words, you can forget about solving any problem.  Admitting a mistake is not a sign of weakness but a measure of courage and solid self-concept.  The admission that you have contributed to a problem comes with the intent to find a solution. You will gain the respect and loyalty of your team when you take actual responsibility.

7. “Would YOU please?”

Productive overachievers perform well individually but are not always good leaders or team persons. That’s usually because they are perfectionists, reluctant to delegate and unwilling to collaborate.  You could be outstanding at numbers 1 through 4 above and have no reason to say number 5 or 6, but you would be missing out on fulfillment from synergy. These powerful words acknowledge other people’s contributions. You gain new perspective and they grow in experience as they perform. It’s about mentoring.  Step back and let other team members shine. They will be motivated to realize their potential and you will learn about being a true leader.

8. “I appreciate.”

Thank you, stated sincerely with a smile, can make someone’s day.  “I appreciate” has even greater impact.  These powerful words can rapidly manifest good things.  Say it promptly to someone for something specific and you will motivate her to continue doing well.   Apply its creative effect on you with a nightly habit of listing down the things you appreciate each day, and you will become fully aware of the wonderful things in your life here and now. Showing gratitude about something always creates more of the same.

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9. “WE can try.”

Hotel expatriate work contracts usually run for two years, and I’ve witnessed these scenarios regularly.  A new manager, eager to prove himself, will immediately change existing procedures and implement his way of doing things—even when the old system works just fine.  Or he has a really innovative idea but the team—used to doing things the old way—put up a lot of resistance.  “We can try” are powerful words that reduce friction in a situation.  It involves an attempt to retain existing procedures that work well.  It produces a willingness to test new ideas before lining up complaints about how (you think) they won’t work.

10. “Yes, WE can! WE are committed. Expect only the best!”

These powerful words hold a guarantee that a thing simply IS. Its power is found in the collective confidence of your team.  Such commitment becomes part of a brand. Its power extends over to public perception and the unquestionable quality associated with the brand and logo. Think of the globally acknowledged quality of Mercedes Benz engineering, Patek Philippe time pieces, and Michelin Star restaurants.  “We are committed” represents a powerful challenge and a worthwhile achievement that produces game-changing results.

Powerful words draw your reality. What you think and say create your experience.  Deliberately choose positive words in thoughts, speech, and with music as you sing about and expect “good things are happening.”  Singer songwriter Dan MacKenzie obviously agrees.

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Featured photo credit: joey zanotti via flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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