Choose Your Focus Because Your Eyes Control Your Tongue

Teams and organizations move in the direction of the words they use.

The most important thing I can say about your tongue is it’s a rudder.

7 powers of words:

  1. Words determine direction. 
  2. Words invite resistance or open hearts.
  3. Words convince or deceive.
  4. Words cut or heal.
  5. Words inspire or discourage.
  6. Words make work difficult or enjoyable.
  7. Words elevate your status or steal your reputation.

Warning: Negative words are more powerful than positive words because bad is stronger than good.

One of my favorite chapters in, “Scaling Up Excellence,” by Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao is, “Bad is Stronger Thank Good: Clearing the Way for Excellence.”

Successful leaders eliminate the negative:

  1. Bad practices.
  2. Stifling processes.
  3. Nasty people.
  4. Destructive attitudes.
  5. Negative beliefs.

It’s not enough to accentuate the positive. You have to eliminate the negative.

Hardwired complaining:

Repeated complaining hard-wires the brain to do more complaining. The more negative you are, the more negative you become. (Travis Bradberry in Emotional Intelligence 2.0)

Complaining contaminates environments.

Eyes and tongues:

Choose your focus carefully because focus steers language. Walk around looking for mistakes and all you talk about is mistakes.

Your eyes control your tongue. You talk about what you look at.

Frankly, some leaders wouldn’t have anything to say if they weren’t complaining. If you constantly complain, do your team a favor and go away.

Choose your focus:

  1. Focus on solutions. When problems emerge, turn quickly to solution-finding.
  2. Focus on strengths. High performance comes from leveraging strengths not fixing weaknesses.
  3. Focus on the future. Remember the future is built today.
  4. Focus on gratitude.
  5. Focus on progress. Energy increases with forward movement, as long as you stop complaining that it’s not enough.

Choose your focus because your eyes control your tongue and your tongue controls direction.

What does positive leadership language look like?

What kind of direction is your language setting?