10 Things Great Leaders Say to Create Highly Engaged Teams

By Gordon Tredgold

Great leadership is about creating great relationships with your teams and inspiring them to go above and beyond. It’s about developing a bond, creating trust and building the self-confidence of the team.

This can actually but much easier than it sounds and can take very little effort. Here are 10 things that great leaders say to their teams which help build them up, get them engaged, excite and empower them to achieve greatness.

The real beauty is that this costs nothing but the returns can be amazing.

Sorry, my fault.

No one is perfect and by owning up to mistakes it builds trust, and it also sets a great example for the rest of the team. When accountability starts at the top, the rest of the team will model it, as it is leadership that defines culture.

What do you need from me to make this a success?

This is my favorite approach to leadership as it clearly shows that we are in this together and that their success is one of our concerns, and we are more than happy to contribute to it. It also clarifies whether or not they everything they need to be successful. Once they say I have everything I need, then they have accepted accountability for the outcome, and we have helped to set them up for success, which will help increase the probability of achieving the desired outcome.

I value your contribution.

Everyone wants to feel valued and needed as it helps to build confidence and self-esteem. The more confident our teams are the better, as confidence is a key contributor to achieving success. What get’s recognized gets repeated and we start by recognizing contribution, as this will then lead to results.

What did we learn from this that we can use next time?

Mistakes are always going to happen, but by asking this question we avoid the blame game and we can look to learn from it and improve for the next attempt. I am a big fan of feed forward rather than feedback. We need to learn how we can avoid mistakes rather than allocate blame. I find that it’s much more productive for focus on feed forward than feedback as this can sometimes be taken negatively and negativity kills productivity.

I have complete faith in you.

It pays dividends to let your teams know that you have trust in their abilities as it will help them build trust and self-confidence in themselves. As mentioned earlier confidence and self-belief are key contributors to success, and we should look to use every technique possible to help increase it.

How could we do this better?

There is nothing worse than an arrogant know-it-all leader who thinks he’s cornered the market in great ideas. Trust me I know I worked for several, I may even have also been one at the start of my career.

With this one phrase, you dispel that illusion and show that you’re open to input, and that collaboration will help us achieve the best results. You never know where great ideas are going to come from, and it’s never a good idea to close down possible sources of great ideas. This also goes a long way to showing them that you value their input.

Do you have the capacity to do this now?

Too many people struggle to say no to the boss, often committing to the workload that is both unhealthy, and will not lead to success. By asking this question, genuinely and with concern, it will allow people to agree to what is achievable without seriously over committing themselves. It also acts to remind them that we are interested in their health and success. As leaders it’s your job to set people up for success!

Great job!

Two of greatest words any employee can hear from their boss. Simple, zero costs and massively impactful. The more you say it, the more you will have to say it as performance will improve. What gets recognized gets repeated and you want to encourage your teams to repeat good performance, and this simple phrase will do that.

Thank You

Politeness costs nothing. A lack of politeness, on the other hand, shows disrespect and a feeling of entitlement, neither of which is going to build trust and loyalty within the team.

This simple phrase makes people feel valued, recognized and appreciated, all of which are great motivators.

How are you doing?

‘No one cares how much you know until they know you care’ is one of my favorite Theodore Roosevelt quotes and the best way to show you care is to ask people how they are doing.

Leadership is often seen as difficult and complex, but by just using these 10 simple phrases it will help you to keep it simple and create highly engaged, empowered and excited teams who will follow you anywhere and will achieve great results.

You do have to be sincere and authentic when asking these questions, otherwise you can have an opposite impact to the one that you desire.

But if you take the time to sincerely ask these questions and listen intently to the answers the impact will be tremendous, both in terms of your organizations results, staff retention and your reputation.


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