Leaders think and speak as WE

May 19, 2014 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment

scullingIt doesn’t matter if your title is owner, president, CEO or fearless leader – you are responsible for the wellbeing, performance and growth of your company. Just like we humans, companies are born. Healthy ones grow and prosper creating opportunities for leaders, employees and stakeholders. Likewise, unhealthy companies can suffer and die. And, like humans, companies have vital signs that can be read in the form of Profit & Loss Statements, Balance Sheets and Statements of Cash Flows. Physically fit companies are disciplined, accountable and purpose driven. Weak and sickly companies are undisciplined, rarely get things done, and wander around aimlessly hoping to trip over success.

Being the leader of a company is a truly unique yet extremely complex role. You may have an extraordinary vision, amazing empowerment skills, financial prowess, and a knack for innovation and strategy… but being the “leader” has nothing to do with you – it’s about the company. You are the voice of the company. When you speak, it is always as “we”, because you represent and are responsible for the “we” that IS the company. When leaders use “I/me” thinking, they are relegating the company to a secondary position where ego trumps integrity. I/me leadership thinking and behavior wrecks culture.

Here are some no-compromise strategies to master the discipline of thinking and speaking as “we”:

  • “We” has a pulse: A company has vital signs and therefore, a pulse. It is the leader’s responsibility to be ever cognizant of the company’s pulse and to ensure that it remains strong. That is why you must always think and speak as “we” – because what you think and say as a leader is simultaneously what the company is thinking and saying as a whole. Too many leaders just don’t understand the damage that is done when serving oneself is placed before serving the company.
  • “We” is more than one: When I speak to my team at Strategies about the company, I always use “we”, not “I/me”. As a leadership coach, my job is to coach people to master being the voice of their companies by using “we”, not “I/me”. “We” is inclusive. “We” represents energy and momentum. “We” is a company. On the flip side, “I/me” is about self, ego, power and possession. People join and follow “we” and the purpose, mission and vision of the company. People cannot rally around “I/me” because there is nothing to gain but a paycheck.
  • “We” is influence and significance: Yes, it is wonderful to hear a leader say, “Great job. I’m proud of you.” But when a leader says, “We are very proud of your work and your contribution to the company,” it communicates something much more meaningful. “We” is saying that the company is proud of you. The message it sends goes deeper because it is the company expressing gratitude, not just one person. Give speaking as “We” a try and you’ll see and feel the significance of this subtle communication shift.
  • “We” is worth fighting for: “We the people…” are the first three words of the Constitution of the United States. It goes on to say, “… in order to form a more perfect union…” For over three hundred years, those words have held our country together… not perfectly, but it’s still here. Well, the same goes for creating a company. People come together to fight for and protect what they believe in. They will fight for “We” and the leader that speaks for “ We”. Dictators are takers because all they know is “I/me/mine”… and that’s short-term thinking.

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Categories: Business Builders , Leadership , Monday Morning Wake-Up , No-Compromise Leadership , Productivity , Teamwork

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  1. A simple, yet profound message. Often ‘leaders’ think they have to get behind a group people and push them up the hill of success, instead of getting in front of them and leading them up the hill to success. This is especially true in the salon industry where most of the team is young and has an artistic mentality..


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