1. “Thank you.” Leaders don’t get to the top on purely their own strength; they must appreciate/recognize all the people who make each component of their organization successful. Corollary: “Nice work!” to provide abundant affirmation.
  2. “What are our priorities today?” The answer to this question starts in a leader’s own planning time with his/her calendar and goals, and then flows into verbally confirming those ‘main things’ with his/her core team. It’s also a great question with which to start most meetings.
  3. “What do you think we should do?” As the team alerts the leader of problems, in order to empower people and to create solutions at the lowest levels of the organization, that solution-finding must be tossed back at the problem-identifier instead of being the answer-man/woman.
  4. “How can we make that even better?” With a mindset of continuous improvement, leaders push their teams toward excellence around every corner, never settling for simply ‘good enough.’
  5. “Who  do we need to consult on this?” Collaboration is a leader’s friend because many voices can lead to breakthrough options. No one can know all the answers, but leaders must have a wide array of resources to turn to, to find those answers.
  6. “Is this course of action in line with our mission/vision/goals?” The leader is responsible for keeping the organization on its overall True North, its thematic goal for the year, and its quarterly targets. Corollary: When coaching a direct report, this phrase could end with ‘YOUR long-term goals’ to help the person keep developing along their career path.
  7. “How can I help?” Leaders remove barriers for employees doing their best work to accomplish the organization’s goals, by inquiring how they might use their influence/resources to clear obstacles or to open doors.
  8. “What does win-win look like?” Conflicts pop up every day among people, and it takes a keen leader to evaluate what each party is looking to gain–then helping to negotiate a positive outcome for each, along with organization as a whole.
  9. “How are you–really?” Caring leaders get the most engagement from their team. The word REALLY takes the cordial greeting to the next level, by truly asking for extended feedback on the person’s well-being and then listening with empathy.
  10. “I’m out.” This is the last phrase of the day, at the time where the work day must have a targeted hard stop, and the transition to family/personal time begins–to pursue better work-life balance consistently.

How often do you speak your version of these phrases at work around your team? I tried to demonstrate many leadership principles with this top 10 list, but there are many more. What other statements/questions would you add to my list? Email me at pcgrowingforward@gmail.com to weigh in, and I’m happy to give you credit! Keep leading well and growing forward!