Four Ways Leaders Can Use Their Words Powerfully

by | Apr 28, 2015

I once heard a workshop leader describe the words we are apt to automatically repeat as thousands of sticky notes hanging off of the virtual ceiling of our collective minds. As we engage in conversation, we frequently grab from those sticky notes in reaction to various experiences. Some words are benign, but others are quietly poisoning us and our work.

While phrases like “just sayin'” are fairly innocuous, there are many phrases we commonly repeat that are not so innocuous. How about “it’s killing me,” “I’m stressed out,” “I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop,” “I can’t …,” “nothing will ever change,” “I’m drowning,” “I’m overwhelmed,” “there’s never enough money,” “that worries me,” “this is impossible” … the list goes on and on. I’m sure you can add a few of your own. But do we stop to think what the words we allow to come out of our mouths are communicating?

According to Proverbs 18:12, the power of life and death are in the tongue. Whether you’re using your words consciously or not, you ARE using them … and if not consciously, you could be doing some serious damage.

When Nehemiah learned of the demise of the Jerusalem wall, he was clearly upset. Instead of being hopeless and overwhelmed,he used his words powerfully by:

  • Turning to prayer. (Neh 1:4)
  • Praising God (Neh 1:5).
  • Confessing his sins and the sins of the people (Neh 1:6-7).
  • Speaking God’s promises over the situation (Neh 1:8-9).

His words spoke possibility, hope and inspiration into the work he was about to do, not hopelessness or condemnation, even though the situation was pretty serious.

What are you saying about your work? Your co-workers? Your boss? Yourself?

Here are some suggestions you can use to replace the negative things you may find yourself saying about your work in the midst of difficulties so you can inspire yourself and those around you:

  • God grants me favor everywhere I go. (Psalm 5:12, Job 10:12, Psalm 30:5)
  • I am more than a conqueror in Christ. (Rom 8:37)
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)
  • I have the peace of God that passes all understanding. (Phil 4:7)
  • God supplies all of my needs. (Phil 4:19)

Hebrews 4:12 says there is power in the Word of God. Nehemiah spoke and relied on the Word of God for success in the work God gave him to do. The rest (insert sticky note here) is history.

What can you do to make sure you consistently turn to God’s Word for answers, direction and solutions in your work?

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Catherine Gates

Catherine Gates is Executive Director of Women in the Marketplace, a nonprofit marketplace ministry that equips working women to confidently pursue their faith and career for the glory of God. She is also the author of The Confidence Cornerstone: A Woman’s Guide to Fearless Leadership. Learn more at womeninmarketplace.net.