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Jan 5, 2015

Change your words and change your world. Your words can be your greatest gifts or your most destructive weapons.

As a leader, your words and tone provide a window into your vision, your values, and your ability to engage and inspire others, says Drs. Kevin and Jackie Freiberg in their new book, Do Something Now.

Whether you’re running a large company or leading a small team, the Freibergs have discovered seven (7) things the most successful leaders frequently say to communicate more effectively and draw out the best in their employees.

Follow these examples to increase your team’s results, too.

1. Here’s our plan

Lead with vision and share the big picture of the results you want to achieve.

Employees can contribute great suggestions if they understand the overall vision, and they’ll appreciate the direct line of sight to the goal. Once they understand the where and why, they can better define the how.

A clear vision also keeps team members focused and on track, and clarity gives everyone the confidence to say ‘no’ to tasks inconsistent with achieving the objective.

2. What do you need?

Employees need to know you care about them personally and professionally and that you genuinely want them to succeed.

Once you share the vision, it’s important to leverage the talents of every person on your team. It’s your responsibility as a leader to help pave the way for others to stretch, grow and develop in their own careers.

3. Tell me more

Ask for input and sincerely and actively listen to understand. Let employees know you’re interested in their ideas and give them implicit permission to share their opinions.

Listening more and speaking less invites others to engage and offer their ideas for moving forward.

4. Way to live our values!

Celebrate and recognize employees who demonstrate and live the company’s values. When employees use the organization’s values to make good business decisions, let them know you noticed.

Make the corporate values a part of your every day conversation and look for opportunities to celebrate their successful expression.

5. You can count on me

Your team absolutely needs to trust you or it will be almost impossible to hit your goals.

So let them know, frequently, that you’ve got their back, and take every opportunity to express your appreciation for their efforts. Then work diligently to prove it and deliver on your promises to them.

6. We can do better

Good isn’t always good enough! Never settle for a good result when you’re aiming for a great result.

Celebrate team members when they do well, but always be willing to also coach employees when they don’t achieve their full potential. Lead by example, admit your mistakes and share your own development plan by modeling self-awareness and resiliency.

7. Let’s celebrate!

Be careful not to create a culture in which the only reward for great work is more work. Instead, make it a habit to celebrate wins large and small.

Employees are much more willing to go the extra mile if they know their efforts will be appreciated. As a team, come up with meaningful ways to celebrate your victories and offer inspirational recognition and rewards to those who have earned them.

The post originally appeared in a somewhat different form on

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