The Weight of Words

May 21, 2016 • 

Words have always guided my interests. The majority of my time is spent seeking personal essays in video, audio or written format, following the careers of stand-up comedians and writers, and in meetings determined to understand what’s behind the words floating about. I have never been more aware of the weight of words than I am now. They are becoming heavier.

A writer judges themselves by their intentions but ultimately the power is held by the reader, who interprets. As communication becomes more impersonal and we work in larger teams over larger distances, the benefit of the doubt gets lost amongst the noise and all we have are emojis to communicate how we truly feel.

I am learning that becoming more articulate is a necessity of management; communication is my job. Spending a year reading more books has been the quickest and most impactful contribution I have ever made to my own growth. Listening to others with more experience in management has been another. Communication has historically not been my strongest skill-set but I do not have a choice in these matters now so I must come around to it.

Three things of note:

  • Perception matters. Team morale is one of the biggest indicators of a project’s success. The emotions of your team are your responsibility. Priming a brain has immense impacts on actions and everyone is primed by everything they see in the course of a day. Be supportive. Be confident. Do not focus too much on the negative (but do not ignore it either.) Keep calm.
  • Be brief. Superfluous words must be eliminated. Everyone has the same amount of time, but everyone also has less time than you. Stay focused, answer the question(s), address the concerns succinctly and then stop talking. When in doubt, consider saying nothing.
  • Don’t publish immediately. If you are in a position in which your words weigh more than others, do not hit ‘Send’ without pausing. What is your goal? Are your words going to get you there? Does this hit a sore spot with anyone? Are you being neglectful? Are you answering the 5 W’s? If someone read this without context, would they give you the benefit of the doubt?

The strongest leaders are great communicators. Consider your words and be mindful.

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