A Leader’s Vocabulary

Leaders vary from person to person and situation to situation. One thing they all have in common, though, is a consistent vocabulary. This vocabulary is comprised of the following short but extremely important words.


Sure, you are the leader. By no means does that mean you will never need help. In fact, you should need help! So ask for it. Effective business leaders know when they need to ask for help and they do it without waiting.


Asking for help is a great first step, but to truly understand how to do something, you need to be shown. Don’t just ask for input. Ask to be taught. Ask to be trained. Ask to be shown.

Eventually, your employees will begin to do it too, creating a culture where everyone learns, grows, and develops together. So ask someone to show you the right way! Ask over and over again until you understand how to do it.


Everyone makes mistakes. If you are trying, you are making mistakes. Say you made a mistake and then say you’re sorry. Never follow an apology with a disclaimer. For example, don’t tell your employees you are sorry and then say “but I was really angry.” Follow your apology up with what you’ll do to correct and learn from the mistake, because that turns an error into a course correction — and creates a culture where taking risks is not just accepted but expected.


Sometimes not saying yes to new things makes your life easier. But your employees has questions and ideas and it is part of your job as their leader to encourage their thoughtful minds. Every day, say yes to something different. Say yes to the employee who is excited about creating workstations for more creative work. And say yes to the employee who seems hesitant to bring up their new idea — because hearing “yes” will give them a much-needed boost of confidence and self-esteem.

These words are words we learn from a very young age. However, the meaningfulness of these words in leadership should not be downplayed. By being willing and able to ask for help, ask someone to show you, say you’re sorry and be a yes, you will be a better leader!

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