3 Phrases That Instantly Show Your New Coworkers You're an Authentic Leader

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Alicia Dara180
Power Voice Coach for Career Women
June 16, 2024 at 2:52PM UTC
If you want to get on a leadership track in your career, it’s important to know how to build trust with those around you. Being consistently trustworthy is key to your success, especially when it comes to management. Your team has to have confidence in your ability to steer the ship and keep it on course. Things like being accountable to your promises, practicing deep listening to the concerns of others and keeping calm under pressure can signal that you have what it takes to manage people successfully. 

Along with these actions, there are important communication skills that can lay the foundation for trust-building with your co-workers and anyone else in your workplace. In order for them to see you as an authentic leader, they have to feel that you are able to perceive the bigger picture and hold a place for everyone in it. Yet no one wants to feel like a cog in a machine. They want to know that you respect their individual autonomy and would make room for their unique strengths to shine through. 

Communicating your value as a leader depends on your ability to pick your moments and make the most of them. Here are three phrases that can help.

1. “That sounds like a driver, not a result.”

Visionary big-picture thinking is a hallmark of excellent leadership. When it comes to planning big projects, many people get confused about the path that leads to actual results. Especially in the early stages, before you’ve set specific KPIs, it can be hard to separate drivers from the results they bring. 

For example, clarity is often cited as a project result when in fact it’s actually an element that drives specific results.

Before: “Our end goal is to achieve clarity on the issue”

After: “Our next steps are to achieve clarity on the issue so that we can present the results to our clients and take action accordingly.”

Mistaking a driver for a result can lead to messy processes and ineffective solutions. Great leaders can articulate the difference between drivers and results right away, and guide group efforts toward the latter. 

2. “How about we focus on solutions now. What are some good ideas?” 

The ability to unite a team in a crisis is a powerful leadership skill. When a project doesn’t go as planned and the outcome is bad, it’s common for people to express their feelings about it. While a certain amount of “group venting” of disappointment might be appropriate, it’s important to prevent finger-pointing and the assigning of blame, which can erode trust and prevent the team from doing their best to fix the problem. If that starts to happen, rather than join the noise you can redirect the group toward a co-creative solution space. Shifting their collective attention to the task of sorting out the next steps is a good way to indicate that you won’t allow “emotional static” to divide the team, just when they need to come together most. 

3. “Nice work! I appreciate the way you did _______.” 

Great leaders know how to motivate their teammates with authentic praise for a job well done. Don’t let your competitive instincts prevent you from taking this powerful action. By publicly acknowledging your co-workers’ stellar efforts, you can signal that your praise is something to be coveted and earned, which can increase your influence among the group. 

Just make sure that your compliments are genuine and specific, so that the recipient feels that you’re speaking directly to them personally. Don’t do this every day, or you’ll risk looking like you’re pandering. Keep it sporadic and sincere, and remember to highlight the particulars. 

Again, pick your moments carefully, and also make sure that you’re open to feedback about the way you handled each circumstance. Remember that your main imperative is to build trust with those around you. That process will take time, but the more you experiment with your new communication skills the more you’ll be prepared to apply them when you’re finally in the driver’s seat. 

What’s your no. 1 leadership phrase? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

This article was written by a Fairygodboss contributor.

Alicia Dara is a nationally recognized speech and presentation coach based in Seattle. She has helped thousands of people including CEO’s, Global VPs, Executive Directors and Presidential candidates break through blocks, find their Power Voice, and put it to work. Her most popular group training is "Power Voice for Career Women", which helps women strengthen their voices, clarify their messaging, and push back against workplace sexism. In 2020 Alicia signed with the Carol Mann Agency for literary representation and is currently working on her first book about strengthening women’s voices in the workplace. Learn more at www.aliciadara.com.

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