10 Invitations to Transformation
Ask people to talk about what they’re good at and their eyes light up. For some, the topic of their strength is so awkward that it takes them time to get their bearings. Eventually, everyone smiles.
People light up when they talk about their power.
Words transform us.
I often ask audiences to gather in the aisles and talk to each other about what they’re good at. It begins quietly and becomes boisterous. Smiles flash. When I ask them to return to their seats – so I can talk – they just keep talking.
4 powers of words:
- Words establish focus. Your mind thinks about what you talk about. Whoever controls the topic of conversation controls the mind. Exceptions include those who are disinterested and those who have personal agendas.
- Words are magnets. You go where you talk both in attitude and behavior. Negative environments result from constantly talking about problems.
- Words are destinations. What you talked about yesterday, in large part, is where you are today.
- Words create us. Everything you talk about is part of who you become. At least three religious traditions celebrate the power of words to create, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.
10 invitations to transformation:
If you want to change people, change what they talk about.
- What are you good at?
- How did you get so good at…?
- How could I get good at…?
- How are we winning?
- What’s working?
- What do you love about working here?
- Tell me a story about someone who made a difference in your life.
- Remind me of a time when you went beyond the call of duty to get something done.
- What are you doing when you feel most successful?
- How can we get you doing more of what you love?
Successful leaders influence what others talk about.
How might leaders use the power of words to transform themselves, others, and their organizations?
Love this; great tips!
Thanks Kernel. Best for the journey.
Leaders need to connect with their people, open minds will listen, comprehend and absorb. Determine the value of the conversation and process the information shared in the direction which suits the company best. The downside is some people will not listen because they have their own agenda’s or views which sometimes conflicts with the leaders and would rather sail their own ship! Nice to have options.
Thanks Tim. I’m glad you’re framing this in the context of connecting with people. Apart from connecting, the ideas in this post are useless.
Thanx for this post today. After the results of yesterday’s election, we begin again. Change happens when we ask the RIGHT question. Moving forward.
Thanks Dayna. Politics is a great illustration of the power of words. Often politicians get us talking about the things we fear. It’s a great way to gather a crows. It’s not so great at solving problems. So, they get in office on fear but don’t do much after they get elected. Ugh!
words = language = culture. If you want to design and shape a culture, start with the words you use. Thanks for the great post!
Thanks Steve. All cultures include share language. Bingo
Two things can reveal many dimension of individual personality- who made difference in the life and what do you do when you feel successful. Who made difference reveals your own nature and character. It also revels how do you see your success. What do you do after getting success also reveals your inner world. Some people get excited over success, some get over excited but some people remain normal. So, it shows how do you see your success. Whether your success is short term or long term. Whether you are happy with small achievement or big achievement.
Words are powerful motivators. They create food feeling among others. They also fill others with enthusiasm and confidence. But they can not long last unless they are acted upon in right sense. Only feeling happy on hearing words may become empty hopes unless people do not act upon them. Similarly repeated boosting others through words may after sometimes look fake. So, leaders create sincere feeling with motivating words. They make people to act. They initiate internal generator of person. And that is how they make others to transform.
Thanks Dr. Gupta. I’m glad you brought up the power of action. I usually write more about behaviors and action. Today, I left that side out. Cheers
Dan excellent post! I’d like to share with my blog readers. Thanks!
Thanks Walter. Best wishes
I think that phrases like “How can we”, that are open ended and hopeful help frame the conversation too.
Thanks Bill. You remind me of the powerful question, “Can we fix this?”
Wow! Another awesome post. I just started working in my job 4 months ago but I am not in a leadership position, as I was with my last job. However, I find my co-worker who I work closely with has a knack for speaking negatively about the job and the people who work her – past and present. These are great techniques to use to get the conversations going in a positive direction. I especially like the questions :”What do you love about working here?” and “What are you doing when you feel most successful?” I am on a mission to change this place around for the better and not let it infect me. Eventually, I will get back in leadership and this is a great piece to refer to get and keep the team I work with focused.
Thank you for sharing Dan!
Thanks Possible. I admire your passion. I think most of us have worked with dark clouds. Heck, I’ve been a dark cloud plenty of times. I’m evidence that a dark cloud can change. Keep up the great work.
Wonderful questions, Dan! Reminds me that our brain is like velcro when it comes to negative, teflon for positive. Asking questions that get people to think positively is a great way to create a positive focus, or even work environment. Thank you for sharing the questions!
Thanks aldebcc. Bad is stronger than good. Apart from intervention, bad wins. Successful leaders deal with negativity. Doing nothing means negativity wins by default. Cheers
Weldone Dan; you write strong leadership posts. I couldn’t agree more with your quote “people light up when they talk about their power”. Everyone loves being in the spotlight.
Thanks Cathy. Successful leaders put others in the spotlight. They don’t steal the spotlight.
This is awesome. Even God said, “In the beginning was the word.” Excellent!
Thanks Leah. Word!
Another brilliant post, Dan, on another powerful leadership “wellness” quality: The significance of our WORDS and their ability to inspire others to engage in conversation. People are seldom changed by force or power. Yet, people can be refined and even changed by words of encouragement. Perhaps we have been given a tongue that we may know how to sustain–with a word–any person who is weary for whatever reason. We must not underestimate the power of the spoken word–and how its thoughtfulness does not return to us empty.
Life changing words! They are immensely important, not only for others but for ourselves. Yes, they affect the lives of all concerned. They also make us feel good too. They give new vitality to life, living, being, and doing. Words of appreciation, gratitude and even sympathy need not be eloquent or studied. All that is needed is the sincere message that “I care.” And the outcome is like planted seeds: Their harvest makes us want to do it again and again.
Thanks Books. You nailed the core thing that gives our words power…”I care” … you might say, I have your best interests in mind. Thanks for sharing your insights.
I had written an Article on Transformational Leadership based on a session I went through on Leadership. The essential ingredient was all about how leaders can transform themselves and their organisation through effective communication which focuses on use of words. Words both written and spoken has this all conquering ability to draw people from their shells and become expressive and creative. It was a valuable learning curve which redefined my working. You have emphasized on this aptly. Thanks DAN.
Great! Words are powerful and transformation is possible through motivational thoughts & positive approach to life. I take a tip to make a new batch of students talk to each other and get introduced on the first day of their college by taking a small topic of ‘What they are good at?’
The topic of e power of words needs more attention. As we ebb further into cyberspace, we lose the supplements of language: vocal intonation, body language, breathing, and other observed communication. All that flows are words; we must make the best use of the most carefully chosen words. We must be wordsmiths to express ourselves with full intent and eloquence.
Dan, your comment on fear words and politics is a great example of the power of words –and academic writings on marginalized groups thrives in the concept of the power weilded by words.
In this blog, we are all trying to grow in a positive light and to be great leaders and to healthfully nurture our teams, colleagues, coworkers power and productivity and so empowering words have their place here to build confidence and capabilities.
I will note that in reference to your comment on fear words. I think they do succeed at creating what politics intend….fearful culture that is dependent on politics to help them be less fearful. Politics is cyclical and intentionally so.
Powerful today… thank you!
Great post Dan. Very helpful to reflect upon, particularly right now as we are entering into performance evaluation/goal plan season. I hope I can leverage this in my workplace to strengthen relationships and focus. Also plan to pass this along to my oldest daughter who is a journalism major – she’s all about the power of words. Thanks for what you do!! Cheers, Pat
Thanks Pat. I appreciate you passing this along. Love the username, IncompleatLeader. 🙂
Words should never be underestimated. The power of words is endless. If we want to get someone to seriously think about something, we just need to use the right words to get the person on track…
it is written in the James 3 in the bible about the power of the tongue. It can bring life or death to people. In leadership it can bring respect or disrespect. Followers and no followers