Leadership People Skills: Words of Inclusion Engage!
When employees feel that the leaders value everyone, they engage and create magical results together. The words and actions of leadership people skills create inclusion — and inclusion engages.
The popular belief is that actions speak louder than words. Yet words speak volumes to those they exclude.
Image by MatthewRad via Flickr Creative Commons License.
Not sure about this? Try this simple exercise. Read through published quotes that use the word “man” to mean “human”. Now re-read them using the word “human or humankind”. For example,
“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” ~Voltaire
“Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.” ~Goethe
What’s the message? Now, how does the message change with the word human instead of man? When the words change, the message changes. When the message changes so does the impact and subsequent results.
A leader’s words of inclusion matter. Leaders and teams communicate to produce successful results together. So let’s look at some words of inclusion in leadership people skills.
Leadership People Skills
Leaders, do your words include and engage or exclude and disengage?
In the quest for success, leaders often use the phrase “the best”. Can you hear yourself saying, “Who will produce with the best idea today?” You have good intentions; you want to inspire excellence. You want to lift the team from average performance to winning results! Then why exclude everyone except the one person whose idea meets the challenge that day?
“Who will produce the best idea today?” excludes and disengages.
“How many great ideas can we produce today?” includes and engages.
In the customer service and call center industry, I’ve heard leaders announce: “Here are the top 10 performers in our organization.” Their thinking is that through ranking, they make others work harder.
This only works if the others are motivated by competition. If they are motivated by collaboration, your ranking words disengage them. Since customer service requires teamwork, it is better to highlight specifics of great performance than to rank some and disengage others.
“Here’s the top 10 performers” excludes and disengages all but ten people.
“Lee, Pat, Chris, this week you improved our results a great deal this week. Please share how you did it!” This includes and engages everyone with valuable information. Without the emotion of being labeled a success or failure, all can focus and engage on what actually created that success.
Artificial categories exclude and disengage. When your words label employees, that label puts them in a box and excludes them from acceptance in the larger picture.
Think about it. What is the persistent wish of all employees? Personal and professional growth — especially the millennial generation. Why? Because it includes them in success.
“You’re an agent not a supervisor. Escalate all policy exceptions to me.” This limits, excludes, and disengages commitment.
“Here’s how I assess policy exceptions. If you’re not sure, just ask me.” This statement from a leader includes, engages, and develops employee talent.
Inclusion validates people for who they are and says “You all matter.” Inclusion taps the spirit of collaboration. It intensifies the desire to contribute their talents and mentor each other with those talents.
Exclusionary words communicate there is only one road and they all have to out race each other on it. Words of inclusion inspire employees to explore the multiple pathways to success.
GEN Y already thinks this way. They’ve grown up with technology that has communicated this very philosophy: collaborate through many networks and find answers through diverse resources. This is inclusion in action!
They have been living in and had access to a global world from the day they were born. Exclusion simply doesn’t make sense to them. When you try to lead them the traditional way, they disengage.
If you need everyone’s commitment and effort to reach success, then it makes sense to use words of inclusion to engage everybody. Instead of ranking people, highlight what behaviors increase the team’s success. Instead of boxing them into categories with labels, develop them to contribute more each day.
Your words as a leader communicate whether you believe success comes through collaborative inclusion or competitive exclusion. Which do your words say?
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
Leaders, Are You Engaging Employees Foresight?
©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email email@example.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.