How Much Do a Leader's Words Really Matter?

You’ve probably heard someone say, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt (or help) me."  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Let's explore why and how.  

The Power and Skill of Words

A leader's words frame their follower's expectations and often determine how they live and perform. They create either a constructive environment of life or a destructive atmosphere of death.   Followers either thrive or underperform their potential, depending on the tone set by the communication of their leader...especially through words spoken.  

In my mentoring and coaching efforts, I emphasize how truly great leaders share an essential skill - the wise use of words when communicating. They use the gift of communication to edify, uplift and affirm others.  They do not corrupt people, the environment and organizations with negative words that poison, spread rapidly, debilitate and impair.  Instead, the positive words of these genuinely difference-making leaders are powerful, life-imparting food and drink that nourish and nurture their followers.  Their words enliven and build up, creating and perpetuating the infectiously positive atmosphere required for progressive personal, relationship and organizational growth. 

Read more on this topic in my leadership book: Follow The Leader

Personal Example

I know from personal experience that the ROI (return on investment) of a leader’s positive words is out of this world!   My great aunt Gillie was an unassuming, humble and quiet leader who greatly influenced me as a child and teenager.  She possessed many traits we as leaders need…in particular, the gift to speak positive, Biblically-consistent words that encourage, empower and free our followers to achieve all their God-given potential. 

To me, her words were like honey from a honeycomb…health to the spirit of a young boy who some thought, and told, would never amount to much.  Like her, I was short in physical stature, but Aunt Gillie made me feel ten feet tall.  She was a significant leader who made others feel special…because they are!  She inspired me to dream and pursue big dreams with God’s great help. In my little accomplishments, she saw the possibility of great things.  While I enjoyed her world class cooking, she would take time to compliment me for those small triumphs.  Thank you Aunt Gillie, for being a leadership giant who taught me that positive words cost nothing but accomplish much!

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About the Author

Cecil O. Kemp Jr. is the award-winning author of 27 books and a sought after leadership mentor, life coach and keynote speaker.   Click here to learn more about him, and here to inquire about booking his services. 

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