The 9 things great leaders say every day … how many do you say?

You may be great at grinding out good results month in, month out – year in, year out. However, great leaders build momentum … they have solid strategies, business plans and measurements … and they also have “something else”.

This “something else” sets them apart – they have a vocabulary that ignites passion in people … they say things that build trust … and they create a sense of urgency to take on changes that transform performance – and catapult results beyond anything seen before.

The following 9 sayings* below are the things that great leaders say every single day … to build a truly “unstoppable culture” within their organisation or department that produces stunning increases in performance and bottom-line results.

Be honest with yourself as a leader – how many times, if at all, do you say these things? If you don’t say them multiple times a day, you’re not as good a leader as you think!

1. “This is the situation”

People want to know what’s going on. Odds are, they’ll find out anyway, or even worse, fill in the gaps with conjecture and misunderstandings. When you keep important things excessively close, you sap morale, rob yourself of your team’s insights, and make people feel under-valued. Does it sound crazy to let them in on everything? Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton did it for decades, and he did okay.

2. “Here is the plan”

A leader is supposed to lead. People will offer great suggestions, especially if you’re saying and doing everything else on this list, but you need to be able to make decisions and stand behind them. Your team needs to know where you’re trying to take them, how and why. Also, don’t forget the crucial follow on – you need to be able to say “no”, especially to moves that would be inconsistent with your plan.

3. “What do you need?”

This is crucial for two reasons. Firstly, people need to know that you care about them on personal and professional levels, and that you want them to succeed. Secondly, if you’ve put together a great plan, you need to leverage every person’s abilities to the maximum extent possible. If they are not able to give it their all, you want to know why.

4. “Tell me more about …”

Let people know you’re more interested in finding good answers than hearing yourself speak. Give others implicit permission to share their opinions – or heck, invite them explicitly, if you have to. Staying quiet is an invitation for others to offer ideas and insights.

5. “Remember what our values are …”

You can’t possibly stare over the shoulder of every person making decisions that affect your organisation, but you can remind them to make choices that the rest of their team will be proud of. Reminding people of your values requires, of course, that you can actually articulate shared values.

6. “I trust you”

If you can’t trust the people on your team, then they shouldn’t be on your team. You need to trust their integrity, their judgment, their confidence and their passion – and you need to ensure that they understand how much you depend on them.

7. “You can count on me”

The flip side of that last point is true as well. If your team can’t trust you, they shouldn’t do you the great honour of letting you lead them. So tell them you’ve got their back, and then work like hell to fulfil the promises you make.

8. “We can do better”

One of the toughest, most crucial parts of leadership is to push your team to a higher standard than they might set for themselves. That means congratulating them when they do well, but also not coddling them when they don’t live up to their potential. It also means admitting when you fail to live up to those standards, too.

9. “Let’s celebrate!”

Don’t create a culture in which the only reward for great work is more work. Instead, make it a practice to celebrate your progress and wins, both large and small. This can mean big parties and bonuses, but it can be just as important to call people out for great work and congratulate them for their milestones – both professional and personal.

*Murphy, Bill Jr. “9 Things Great Leaders Say Every Day.” Inc. Mansueto Ventures. 18 Feb. 2014. Web. 5 March 2014.

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