Start with we.
There are many things in everyday life that we consciously ignore despite knowing they are not meant to be. And when the reality strikes, it is too late to comprehend what really went wrong. Working with a team which you lead comes at a cost of responsibility. How you respond to each situation, how you tackle difficult times and how you communicate will all add up to the overall health of the project.
A good leader’s best tool-of-trade is communication. If you are working 80-hours a week and fail to communicate efficiently, it all just goes down the drain. Burning the midnight oil will not always inspire your team, if on the next morning you get back to work and fail to collaborate efficiently.
As a leader you may posses authority over your team to a certain level. This is where it all gets tricky. And a good leader will always overcome this situation by efficiently communicating to the team. More importantly, a good leader will lead the team instead of just delegating the work. But at times when you as a leader do have to delegate tasks or make a fellow member take a look into something that is essential to make progress, start with “we”.
“I want you to get this done by end of the day” vs “Can we have this done by end of the day” has a whole lotta different meaning. Your fellow team member will not be working for you, your title or your position. And for sure, wouldn’t be interested in satisfying your ego after having spent years in academics.
Making such simple changes in your statements over time can go a long way in how your team would feel and respond to situations — it will subconsciously reassure them that you are with the team every single time they face a hardship.
Always start with we.