Words Matter

A plant leader in the log yard in Livermore Falls sent me an observation last week. He’s been paying attention to how he speaks to others and the impact it accomplishes.

 There are little things:

 Remembering to take time to tell a colleague he’s doing a good job as compared to assuming they understand they are doing a good job without it being said-“the no news is good news” approach.

Or, asking a colleague to help as compared to demanding a colleague to do something. Your job may give you the. “Authority” to demand things. Asking for help still works better.

He said he was learning a lot with an improved approach. He decided to take it to a ” tougher” arena: his nine years old grandson Kody.

 ” I’ve also noticed that using a little different phrasing has helped me in my personal life” he said . “Now before we go on a long trip, I ask Kody if he can go to the bathroom, not if he has to. To me it means the same thing, but to him he gives a truthful answer both times. No, grandpa I don’t have to use the bathroom.(Translation: I can hold it a minute and a half longer, but we’ll be stopping at the next McDonalds.) Now he says, “Yes, I can go a little.”  Just a little change brings big results.”

 As a leader, our words matter. We use many a day. Most often we do it on automatic pilot. Seldom do we reflect on whether we could have said things better.

His note reminded me how important it is to pay attention. Do the non-verbals I see in response to my words reflect my intent? Do the actions that follow my words get us where we intend to go?