8 Phrases Leaders Should Say Often
The “magic word” we learned as a child is still a powerful word to use with others. It implies respect and consideration for the effort another person will put forth to help. It keeps us from taking people for granted. When you are polite and say “please,” your team is more likely to respect you.
Colossians 3:12 – “Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience..."
2. "Thank you."
This simple expression after a deed is done lets others know you have noticed and you appreciate it. Gestures such as written notes of thanks, an email, or better yet, walking to their office and expressing your gratitude in person can make all the difference. Taking time out of your schedule to express your thanks goes a long way and instills in yourself a heart of gratitude as a leader.
Thessalonians 5:18 – “Give thanks for everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
3. "I forgive you."
Forgiveness is such a powerful gift. We are all broken people and we all have broken places in our lives. We have all messed up. And we all will mess up again in the future. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).” The power of the gospel is that in our brokenness, God gave us His mercy and His grace. “It is a gift, lest anyone boast.” Don’t expect perfection from anyone, not even yourself.
Colossians 3:13b – “Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive.”
4. “Will you forgive me?”
Yes, saying this is humbling and sometimes difficult, but so powerful. It let’s others know your heart: that you care about the relationship and want to make things right. It takes down barriers. Asking “will you forgive me?” is one of the most powerful phrases a leader can use. When we miss the mark we need to be quick to ask for forgiveness and restore the relationship.
Ephesians 4:32 – “And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.”
5. "I'm proud of you."
We all need those “attaboys” from time to time. It is calling out the gifts in others. It is affirming others privately and publicly – in front of them and also when you are with others. We need “balcony” people (Hebrews 12) in our lives cheering us on.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 – “Encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.”
6. "How is your time with God?"
We need the accountability from other believers on our walk with God. Are we praying? Are we in God’s Word? Are we active in church? Are we sharing our faith? Remember, the closer we are to God, the healthier our relationships will be, the greater our unity, and ultimately we will be living out our purpose to bring God glory by making Him known!
Hebrews 10:24 – “And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works.”
7. "How can I pray for you?"
It is a precious gift to give your team the opportunity to take their needs before God. Personal. Intimate. A powerful unity is formed when you pray for others and share together in answered prayer. Specific prayers for others will cause you to love them more, and help you see them through the eyes of Jesus’ love for them.
Philippians 4:6-7 – “Don’t worry about anything but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
8. "How can I serve you today?"
Asking this causes you to get your mind off yourself and focus on others. Serving others will give you life, energy, and purpose. Jesus is our great teacher in this area, as we see in the example of him washing the disciples’ feet. Bended knee, dirty work, but it is what we do as followers of Christ. If you want to be set apart as a great leader, start asking your team how you can serve them.
Matthew 20:26b – “Whoever wants to be great among you, must be your servant.”
Be aware of your words today and be intentional about giving life to those you lead.
Selma Wilson is the vice president of Organizational Development at LifeWay Christian Resources. She has also served as vice president of B&H Publishing Group. She is married to Rodney who serves as Associate Pastor, Marriage and Family Minister at LifePoint Church in Smyrna, TN. Follow Selma on Instagram and Twitter for more information.