Do you lead or do you manage? Both are important, but they’re not the same. Many people have said that leadership is an art, while management is a skill. Leadership is knowing what’s important, putting first things first, having the vision to push forward objectives. Leaders don’t just direct people to complete tasks, they inspire people to buy in to a vision. Here’s some phrases that leaders say that can help you not just manage, but lead and inspire people.
1) Here’s the situation…
Whether bringing an urgent matter to the table or bringing up a controversial or sensitive subject, this phrase gently says that you have important new information to share and people need to listen up.
2) Tell me more…
A leader always seeks to understand. Having authority doesn’t mean you wield it. When you ask people you lead to tell you more, it shows that you care about what they think and that you want to understand them. Greater understanding builds greater trust, and greater trust creates greater cooperation, and greater cooperation results in greater output. A team can always produce more than an individual, and a unified team will always be more effective.
3) Remember our values…
This is the essence of leadership. Leaders identify values, and those values drive objectives forward. When correcting problems, a leader should always start with values. If you only correct actions, the wrong actions will perpetuate wrong actions because the values are not truly in people. The best leaders identify values with their team, and when values are misplaced or abandoned, all they have to say is, “Remember our values.” The people that follow them know the values because they helped identify them. When people weigh in, they can more easily buy in.
4) I trust you.
Don’t use this phrase lightly – but use it often when you mean it. Micromanagers will never be good leaders – they will just be micromanagers. Your people need to know you trust them or they will always be looking over their shoulder to make sure you think they’re doing the right thing every step of the way. This slows productivity and stifles creativity. If you don’t trust your people, work to build trust. And once that trust is built, tell them you trust them as much as you can.
5) Let’s celebrate.
This is perhaps the most important thing a leader can say. Many people look at their leaders as the ones who tell them everything they do wrong and bring discipline and keep them in order. While a leader needs to be willing to have tough conversations and confront people in the right ways, one of the best ways to build up your team is by celebrating. Even though people are just doing their jobs and doing what is required of them, good leaders seek to celebrate their people for a job well done. This will go further than almost anything in creating team unity and encouraging people to continue to strive for more than the minimum requirements.
Here’s a few words or phrases that might be helpful to define:
“Buy in” – this phrase was used a couple times and is a great phrase for business. It means to fully believe in the goal, not just accept what is said.
“Weigh in” – When people “weigh in,” they give input on decisions, which in turn allows them to more fully “buy in” to what is decided, be it a value or a course of action.
“Put first things first” – To put first things first is to focus on the things that matter most. This is a phrase made famous by Stephen Covey in his landmark book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (a book we highly recommend you read!).
“Bring to the table” – this phrase means to introduce a topic or idea; this phrase can also mean (though not in this situation) skills or abilities you contribute to a team
“Listen up” – this phrase simply means to listen closely
“Perpetuate” – this means to make something continue indefinitely
“Looking over their shoulder” – in this situation, this phrase means you live in fear of being disapproved of, so you constantly “look over your shoulder” to make sure the person you fear is giving you their approval
Do you want these phrases in flashcards form? Every Monday we send out our Fener Weekly email with exercises (like these flashcards) to help you become fluent in English. To sign up for Fener Weekly click here.