The Music of Day-to-Day Leadership

If you want to be a better leader, choose better words.


Power of words:

People determine if you are positive or negative, backward-looking or forward-focused, follower or leader, weak or powerful by the language you use.

Yes, behaviors establish your reputation. But…

Language is the music of your day-to-day leadership.

Dark notes:

  1. Negative language makes you a negative leader. Monitor your conversations for a day to see how many dark notes you use.
  2. Complaining doesn’t make you a leader. It makes you a complainer, even if you don’t want to admit it.
  3. Problem-centric conversations create stress and stagnation. Solution-centric conversations make us sing.

Improve your language – expand your leadership.


Bad music starts:

  1. “I can’t believe ….” Unmet expectations are prime opportunities to complain. But complaining doesn’t help us meet expectations.
  2. “Did you know ….” Juicy morsels about others often become dissonant notes.
  3. “They totally screwed up ….” Sentences that begin with ‘they’ often conclude with complaints.
  4. “It’s not fair ….” The search for fairness always ends with complaining.
  5. “That’s stupid ….” Remember, smart people DO stupid things. “Momma says, ‘Stupid is as stupid does.’” Forest Gump

Stop complaining:

Success is easier when you eliminate ineffective behaviors.

Being a positive leader might feel daunting. No worries. Just stop being so negative. (I confess that it’s not enough to just stop complaining, but it’s a great start.)

I’ve added a Stop Complaining Activity to the original five projects I posted yesterday.

No complaining lunch:

Invite a colleague to a No Complaining Lunch. During lunch only positive language is allowed. The first person to complain buys lunch. If no one complains, buy your own lunch.

To avoid arguments over, “Was it a complaint or not,” ask your server to make the final judgement. The word of the server is final. Pay the piper.

What other fun ways can you add to help stop complaining?