The Language of Inclusion.

Last month I was encouraging you to develop your own “language” – a unique way to talk about your work that would salt the ambition of your employees to achieve your mission. When leaders carefully craft these messages, considering the impact of the words they use, they create a language of success.

Now, as part of that effort, I’d like you to also think about a “language of inclusion.”

Do people feel they’re all in it together? Or, do they feel that the organization is divided? Is there an “all-for-one and one-for-all mentality,” or is there a distinct hierarchy that’s emphasized? Those contrasts are very telling.

Yes, people recognize that the structure of most organizations naturally has differing levels of position and authority. But, breaking down as many of these barriers as you can by speaking about unifying principles (i.e. an inclusive nature) will lead to a more cohesive effort – because everybody believes they have a stake in the results and share the same goals.

This absolutely relates to workers who work together, and even extends to their customer relationships.

Running the Course.

As an example, I’d signed up online to play golf at a nearby club (they were a private club, but sold a few rounds each day to the general public, obviously to fill in some gaps in their finances, while expanding the awareness of their facilities and augmenting their efforts to recruit new members). Upon arriving at my time of play, I was paired up with a couple of members, and it wasn’t long before I was keenly aware of their perspective. They referred to everyone else by calling them, “Outsiders.”

Not “guests,” or “friends,” or “visitors,” but outsiders.

It was pretty clear they felt that “we want their money, but we don’t want them to get in our way.”

Someone in leadership should have recognized that referring to their potential new members as outsiders, and treating them that way, poisoned the potential to attract their interest.

This is a customer example. But you can see how this same mentality is at play within your workforce. People either feel included, or excluded. And it’s up to you to create the conditions that promote unified effort – and thus, success.

Change the Language, Change your Results.

Attracting people – pulling them in. Not pushing. That’s a big part of your job as a leader. Use the right words to include people, unify their efforts, increase commitment and stress achievement. Develop your language of inclusion.

(Note: The only way to put this lesson into practice is to seriously reflect on, and question, the word choices you make in your daily interactions. Then, make changes for the better.)

– Jerry Strom

Use Twitter to learn more from the Focal Points Leadership Study. Search quotes and findings by using the hashtag #FocalPointsRPT, or by following me: @JerryRStrom. For more information about our leadership and team development programs, please visit . Join the mailing list to receive new articles as they are published.

This article is based on the *’Focal Points Study: The Most Important Things a Leader Should Know,’ copyright 2014, by Jerry Strom & Company, Inc. Find the Research Abstract, along with descriptions of many of our other research projects at .

Posted in Leadership Articles | Comments Off