5 Things High Performers Do (and Don’t) Say in the Workplace

Think about the most impressive people you’ve worked with. What was it that made them special? It probably was a combination of several qualities: personality, results, attitude, and, I suggest, the words they choose to use in critical discussions.

Our company’s mission is to always leave our clients better than we found them; so today, let’s look at language you can use to make a great impression on your co-workers, while giving yourself and your organization a competitive advantage.

Since 2003, we’ve had the benefit of working with some of the highest-performing organizations, teams, and individuals in the world. We’ve worked with governments, non-profits, and, of course, for-profit organizations. We’ve delivered our concepts in over 80 countries. Young, old, male, female, across different industries and, no matter their country of origin, the most successful people we’ve encountered always know what to say (and, of course, what not to say) in order to build the strongest relationships, while driving the best results.

We teach dozens of high-performing behaviors; but for now, let’s focus on five behaviors and the language you might use for each of them.

Situation One: Managing time for what is most important. High performers allocate their time according to what is most important, adjusting as necessary as they proceed. Instead of saying “We don’t have time to do this”; challenge your team by saying “Let’s manage our time so we are able to get this done”. Always be willing to drop less important things in order to deliver excellence on what is most important.

Situation Two: Willingness to take on a tough task. High performers are constantly seeking ways to successfully accomplish their tasks and projects, especially when the situation is challenging. Rather than “We can’t do this”, ask “How can we get this done?”. Always maintain a high orientation toward solutions.

Situation Three: Encouraging and engaging others in the cause. High performers work to inspire others to accomplish tasks as a team. Instead of speaking poorly about a co-worker by saying “He doesn’t care about this”; try asking “How can we encourage or inspire him to care about this?”.

Situation Four: High performers invite results over effort. Instead of saying “Have you had a chance to work on that report for the CFO?”; ask “What actions have you taken to generate the report we owe the CFO?”. High-performing language is precise, direct, and results-oriented.

Situation Five: Demonstrating humility and the desire to learn. High performers have a contagious belief in their ability to learn; so, instead of saying “I know how to do this” (when you don’t), try saying “I’m currently learning how to do this” or “Together we’re learning how to do this”.

This is a small sample of the high-performance behaviors we teach; and, if you practice any one for the next month, you’re very likely to be perceived as a person who delivers impact, value, and inspiration for your team.

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