First let me say that I am a registered Republican. I am a self-described social liberal and fiscal conservative. The focus of this blog is to call attention to lessons all leaders can learn from Donald Trump regarding the power of words.
1) Words are powerful. An ancient proverb states “the tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Mr. Trump’s words matter and so do ours. We and he would do well to consider what we say before we say it. More importantly we should consider before we speak the impact we want to make on those who are listening. Wasted words are wasted opportunities to convey our true meaning.
2) Words tell on us. What we say and how we say it has an origin. The thoughts exist first in our heart and mind. Then they come forth and we speak them. Our words are reflections of what we think, how we feel, and who we are. Negative words originate from negative minds. Dirty words from dirty minds. Words of encouragement and hope from positive minds. Our words tell on us and so do Mr. Trump’s. We must take full responsibility for what we say and how we say it. Fresh water never flows from an unclean well.
3) Words mean different things to different people. We must always consider our audience when we speak and choose words that will convey our meaning accurately to the hearers. The bigger the stage, the more powerful the person, the more important this becomes. Why? Because leaders set the tone. Employees look to the boss for a temperature check. If he is anxious about the future perhaps they should be also. The President impacts millions. Citizens look to him to reassure them, to give them hope in challenging times. Mr. Trump needs to take responsibility for careless joking and misdirected humor and so should we. There is nothing noble about having fun or making a point at another’s expense.
4) Words have tremendous power to lift people up. Mr. Trump has incredible power to lift people up and so do you. Try this today. Try to catch someone doing something well or even pretty well. Then share with them heartfelt, big, powerful praise. Tell someone you care about that they matter to you. That you appreciate them. Then watch their countenance transform. Sit back and watch the big grin emerge and become a full-fledged toothy smile. You did that. You can do that every day. Cause and effect. What incredible power you have to make people feel good! To make them want to try harder! To feel that they matter! Don’t waste it.
5) Words matter. Even if you disagree with someone completely, you don’t have to be disagreeable. You will learn more by listening to those with whom you disagree. Respect their point of view. Listen carefully. You may learn something. My positions on many things have changed over the last 20 years. Yours will also. Be an approachable person. Practice the art of listening. People will be drawn to you because it is such a rare gift. Life is short. What you want from others give to them. Make your words matter. Speak from your heart what you believe is true but do it in a kind and respectful manner.
Words are powerful.
Words tell on us.
Words mean different things to different people.
Words have tremendous power to lift people up.
Your words matter.
Own your words, because you can never take them back. Not really. Never. You may want to but you can’t. Words are that powerful.