Language Creates Culture – 5 steps to transform the language you use every day

As a parent, I’ve realized the extraordinary power my words have in the lives of my children. I can encourage and inspire my children to greatness, or bring them to tears with just a few words. Even though at work you’re dealing with adults, the power your words have is incredible.

The language you and your team use set the direction and atmosphere for your organization. Average leaders don’t give any thought to the words they use in their emails, team meetings, and hallway conversations. Great leaders are intentional about identifying unhealthy language and replacing it with language that is life-giving, encouraging, and forward-looking. They understand that language creates culture.

5 Steps To Transform Your Language

  1. Personal Reflection – Spend time reflecting on the words you use now. Read back through some of your important emails, think about your last few team meetings, and the last few hallways conversations you’ve had.
  2. Ask Someone Else – Invite a few peers or your boss to give you honest feedback on the language you use. Ask them how it impacts people around you. Ask them if it’s life-giving, encouraging, and forward-looking?
  3. Choose Replacement Words – With any negative or unhealthy language you identified in #1 and #2, what words would you have changed? How would the tone or approach of your email, conversation, or presentation be different?
  4. Put It Into Practice – Let’s make the change! Be intentional with transforming your language to positively impact the culture and people around you. You won’t be perfect and will probably fall into old habits but that’s okay. Don’t give up! Keep choosing to use life-giving and encourage language.
  5. Ask Them Again – Remember those people in #2 that gave you some honest feedback? Go back to them and ask them to observe you again. Do they notice a change? How are you doing? What kind of impact are you now having on those around you? If you identify other areas for improvement go back to #3 and start the cycle again.

Bonus: What great leaders in movies, books, at work, or in history inspire you? Listen to them. Read their works. Watch them. Identify the language they use that inspires you. Experiment with some of their phrases or words as you influence and lead those around you. Don’t just copy them, but adapt it to your own style and personality.

Question: How have you been intentional to monitor or change the language you use? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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