Stop Pleading, Start Leading

“Get a move on, get going.”

“Please, we have to do better.” 

“Come on, let’s go.” 

If you’re a manager using any of these typical phases while leading your team, it’s time to change your vocabulary. Recently, I was subjugated and mortified hearing a manager say, “Neckdown productions! I don’t need you to think. Got it? Just do what I tell you to do!” Wow, demoralizing at its finest degree.

As leaders, where should you start? Well, we have a duty to cease and desist pleading with our teams. Good leaders command, communicate, necessitate and inform. They have an arsenal of words at their disposal, allowing them to request or insist without begging. Pleading is the ultimate sign of weakness, indicating the leader doesn’t know how to inspire, motivate, or help their employees develop.

Workplace bullying and toxic workplaces are reaching epidemic proportions with disastrous financial, social, productivity and mental health implications. Combined with social issues and social media pressures, life is inherently problematic for young people to traverse. In addition to pleading, when leaders try to “fit in” or use a youthful vocabulary, they sound and look awkward, out of touch and severely disingenuous. 

As leaders, we must find our own convincing voice, not in volume level, but in how we teach, motivate, and instruct. The rhythm of our words matters, and we cannot choose phrases that weaken our knowledge base. Begging/pleading for those to change instead of informing them how to change demonstrates limited knowledge from the leader, making them appear weak. How can leaders expect different results if we beg for change and plead for something new without explaining how to actually achieve it? 

People love to copy how their leaders communicate, and when pleading becomes the preferred choice, everyone in the organization will do the same. When words become simplistic, crude, and undeveloped, pleading creates a vacuum of insolence that those around them will adopt. If you have nothing to say, you’re better off saying nothing than reverting to pleading words as you attempt to influence and encourage your team.

How we shape, organize, and construct our sentences significantly impacts those we lead. By being purposeful with structured questions and statements, we can create meaningful and impactful moments for those who follow. We must vigorously work to understand that the language we use is as valuable as the talent we recruit. The words we use characterize and convey to others who we are. Therefore, we must find the phrases that best fit our personalities. 

Don’t plead. 

—Brian Nadon


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