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Teams as the Key to
Sustainable Growth

May 28, 2024
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Leaders set the tone for your organization. Leaders' words wield immense power. They can inspire, motivate, and build trust, or they can deflate, demoralize, and create distance. Yes, we know body language and tone are an immensely important part of the equation and … your words matter.

The words you use, and how you use them, can change relationships and significantly influence your team's dynamics and overall success. Framing is similarly important as a way of explaining or setting up a conversation or interaction. The manner in which you frame can be just as important as the words themselves. We are focused on performance and development at the end of the day so utilizing effective framing and words are imperative for consistent success.

Neuroscience and psychology also offer profound insights into why certain words and phrases have such a powerful impact on our relationships and organizational dynamics. The brain is wired to respond to language in ways that affect our emotions, behaviors, and perceptions. For example, in Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey’s recent book “Build the Life You Want”, Arthur explains how positive reinforcement and gratitude stimulate the release of dopamine, the "feel-good" neurotransmitter, which enhances motivation, engagement, and productivity. On the other hand, negative or ambiguous words can trigger the amygdala, the brain's fear center, leading to stress and defensiveness, which ultimately hinder performance and strain relationships.

Understanding these mechanisms can help you craft your messages more thoughtfully. By using words that promote a sense of safety, belonging, and purpose, leaders can foster a more cohesive, resilient, and high-performing team. From an empirical standpoint, we observe significant improvements in relationships, trust and performance when the leader uses effective framing, stories, and powerful words to drive performance and engagement.

In this edition I want to give you a few practical and go-to phrases I have seen work for leaders that will enhance your communication, improve your relationships, and build a better organization. We explore phrases you can use during pivotal moments to include leadership team meetings, one-on-one conversations, and strategic plan update meetings.

Leadership Team Meetings

These are key opportunities to reconnect with your team, emphasize key priorities, and ensure alignment towards achieving organizational goals. These meetings are not just about sharing updates; they are strategic opportunities to inspire, unify, and equip your leadership team to drive results through their people. Your words during these meetings should promote clarity, unity (i.e., “one team, one fight”), transparency, and respect. Here are a few phrases you can use to create a productive environment where team members can focus on their tasks with confidence.

Phrases to Use:


  • Focus on what is most important: “What are the heat, headlines, and next right moves?”

  • Express gratitude: “I deeply appreciate the dedication each of you brings to our team. Your hard work is invaluable, and together, we can overcome any challenges that come our way.”

  • Offer support: "Aligning our goals is crucial. How can we better support each other to ensure we are all moving in the same direction and achieving our targets?”

  • Promote psychological safety: “It is important we hear everyone's thoughts and ideas. All perspectives are welcome and valued here.” or “I don’t have all the answers, and I appreciate your input to help us find the best solution.”

  • Show humility: “I value your expertise and insights. Please share your knowledge and help me understand better so we can make informed decisions together.” or “I made a mistake on this, and I appreciate your patience as we work to correct it.” or “I could be wrong…”

One-on-One Meetings

These are essential for building strong individual relationships with team members. The focus should be on active listening, relevant and timely feedback, genuine empathy and support, and shared accountability. It's about performance, after all, so providing examples of how you hold yourself accountable or, possibly, an example of when you did not do so, could be valuable. Remember, accountability is a caring word.

Phrases to Use:


  • "What I value most is..."

  • "Your contributions have helped us to..."

  • "I appreciate the effort you've been putting in. How can I support you in achieving your goals?"

  • "Where I would like to see more is..."

  • "Let's talk about any obstacles you're facing and how we can overcome them together."

  • "I would love to hear more about your ideas for improving our processes."

Strategic Plan Update Meetings

Strategic plan updates are crucial for aligning the team with the organization's vision and goals. During these meetings, clear, positive, and forward-looking communication is key.

Phrases to Use:


  • Acknowledge & instill confidence: "Our progress so far has been remarkable, and I'm confident that with our collective efforts, we can achieve even more."

  • Ownership: "I value your insights and perspectives on these updates. Let's discuss how we can integrate your ideas moving forward."

  • Problem-solving: "What challenges do we foresee, and what is our next right move?"

  • Accountability: “Help me understand…”


Your Next Right Moves


  • Reflect: Take time to reflect on your words and communication style and its impact on your team.

  • Practice: Test out the phrases provided to enhance your communication in different settings.

  • Listen: Prioritize active listening to understand your team's needs and perspectives. Listen MORE than you talk!

  • Adjust: Continuously seek feedback and adjust your communication approach to improve effectiveness.


In Summary

In leadership, the words you choose can either build bridges or barriers. By being mindful of your language and the messages you convey, you can enhance relationships, foster a positive organizational culture, and drive your team toward collective success. Remember, your words have the power to change relationships—use them wisely.

To Permanent Beta,


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