Seven Rules for Talking Like a Successful Leader

The problems of leadership begin with words. Say the wrong thing and clients head for the door. Relationships blow up. Production declines. Tensions escalate. Employees lose motivation.

Words are the most powerful tool of leadership.

giraffe tongue

The secret real leaders know is every word matters.

Wise words create. Foolish words destroy.

Creating with words makes you god-like. The sacred texts of Judaism , Islam, and Christianity, say God spoke and the world was.


The power of words to create is only exceeded by their power to destroy. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you, is an evil lie.

Negative words are 5x stronger than good.

Think of a creative word as one stick of dynamite and destructive word as five sticks of dynamite.

The power of success and failure is in the tongue. The life you hate was created by the words you spoke, either to yourself or others.

Everything leaders do begins with words.

7 rules:

  1. When in doubt, stop talking.
  2. Death wins. It is easier to kill with words than give life. A friend of mine asked some clients, “What’s the most encouraging conversation you’ve had with a boss?” One person had to go back 16 years to think of one.
  3. Speak purposefully. Know why you are talking before you talk. A few foolish words cause a world of  trouble, heart-ache, and pain.
  4. Correct sparingly. Every time you say, “I meant no harm,” you caused harm.
  5. Affirm persistently. Stupid affirmations do less damage than stupid corrections.
  6. Listen more. Trouble awaits when you use your mouth more than your ears.
  7. Think out loud in small groups.

Bonus: Leaders who love to talk have more problems than those who don’t.

Believe in the power of your words. Words make or break leadership.

What rules for talking like a successful leader can you add?