The Jan 6th attack on the White House Capitol is a stark reminder of how important it is to be extremely careful in your selection and use of words.

President elect Biden’s was recently quoted…

“You heard me say before in different context, the words of a President matter, no matter how good or bad that president is. At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite.”

It was the words Incite and Inspire that really triggered my thinking about the use of words that leaders use in their communications especially when under pressure.

I perused a dozen or so Journals from the library of 82 and came up with the following words in form of a ratio as a metaphor for reflection with the goal to help unlock some deeper perspectives:. Here are 11 that I uncovered very quickly:

  • Inspire/Incite
  • Hope/Despair
  • Harmony/Tension
  • Realism/Narcissism
  • Reflective/Impulsive
  • Thoughtful/Erratic
  • Skilled/Ineptitude
  • Grace/Grief
  • Energize/Enervate
  • All about WE/All about ME
  • Builds/Undermines

My key question is what is your default word especially under pressure- the numerator or the denominator?

This is why I always say that leaders have to T-CUP (Think Clearly Under Pressure). I this case it’s T-CUP, then talk!

Good leaders are reflective and choose their words well!

Reflectively Yours!

Bob