17 Things Every Successful Leader Says Every Day
Successful leaders get that way because they have a positive attitude, and they know how to build strong and enduring relationships with their employees. Instead of becoming adversaries, they become partners with their employees--earning their respect, their trust, and their loyalty.
They don't do this, however, by keeping their opinions to themselves. They really connect with their people--involving them, engaging them, and letting them know that they are valued and respected members of the team.
Go from being a good leader to a great leader by saying these things every successful leader says every day:
1. What do you think?
Your employees are a never-ending source of ideas, many of which you may have never thought of or considered. When you ask them what they think, you're letting them know that you want and value their ideas.
2. I trust you.
Every employee wants to feel that he or she has earned the boss's trust. When your employees know that you trust them, they will repay you with their good work, their loyalty, and their trust.
3. I know you can do it.
When employees know that you are confident in their abilities, their own self-confidence will increase--improving the probability that they will accomplish their goals.
4. It's not your fault.
Sometimes problems occur and there's nothing your employees could have done to prevent them. Be quick to recognize when these situations occur, and let your employees know you understand that they are not to blame for them.
5. I'm proud of you.
Who doesn't like to know that his or her parents--or boss--is proud of his or her work and accomplishments? Don't hesitate to let your employees know that you are proud of what they've done.
No employee wants to be ordered or bossed around. While you may be the boss, you can and should be polite when asking an employee to do something for you.
7. Thank you.
Believe it or not, 58 percent of employees reported in a workplace study that their boss seldom if ever personally thanked them for a job well done. Be the kind of leader who is generous with the praise, and your employees will appreciate you for it.
8. Great idea--let's do it.
If you get good ideas from your employees but you don't ever actually implement any of them, your employees will quit bothering to bring new ideas to your attention. Encourage your people to create and innovate by implementing their good ideas whenever possible.
9. I've always got time for you.
Your people are your most important asset--far more valuable than your facilities and equipment, product inventory, intellectual property, and all the cash you've got in the bank. Make a point of taking time to talk with them whenever they request it. If you can't sit down with them right then and there, make an appointment on your calendar to meet with them as soon as you possibly can.
10. I couldn't have done it without you.
Employees crave recognition for a job well done. Let them know that you value their contributions, and that they play a vital role in the organization. Even better, tell them exactly what it was they did to earn your praise.
11. No one is perfect.
Instead of playing the blame game when your employees make mistakes (which only causes them to refrain from doing anything beyond the required minimum in the future), let them know you understand that mistakes will be made, and that as long as lessons are being learned from these mistakes, you support what they are doing.
12. What can I do to help?
Your employees want your support. By asking what you can do to help them--and then following through with the requested support--you are clearly demonstrating to them that you are someone they can rely on when the chips are down.
13. I made a mistake.
No employee respects a boss who refuses to admit making a mistake, or who tries to blame his or her own mistakes on a member of the team. Earn the respect of your people by quickly and publicly owning up to your mistakes, and then doing whatever it takes to correct them.
14. I need your help.
When you need help to get your own job done, don't be afraid to ask your employees for it. They will not only make your burden lighter but also appreciate that you think highly enough of them to ask for their assistance.
15. Anything is possible.
Successful leaders know that there really are no limits to what can be accomplished, given sufficient resources and motivation. Be a glass-half-full kind of person, and your positive attitude will rub off on your employees.
16. I'm sorry.
Never underestimate the power of a heartfelt apology when you say or do something that offends or upsets an employee. These two words--"I'm sorry"--are extremely powerful, and they can heal many wounds.
17. I've got your back.
Employees want to know that you've got their back when they most need your help or support. Be steadfast in your commitment to your people, and do everything in your power to be someone they can count on--in good times and bad.
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While Peter Economy has spent the better part of two decades of his life slugging it out mano a mano in the management trenches, he is also the best-selling author of Managing for Dummies, The Management Bible, Leading Through Uncertainty, and more than 75 other books, with total sales in excess of two million copies. He has also served as associate editor for Leader to Leader for more than 10 years, where he has worked on projects with the likes of Jim Collins, Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and many other top management and leadership thinkers. Sign up here to always stay up to date with Peter's latest Inc.com columns, and visit him anytime at petereconomy.com.