The Startup
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The Startup

7 Words Leaders Should Avoid

Toxic words that lead to toxic cultures

1. Wrong

When you are in the position where people look to you for judgment and approval, it is incredibly disheartening to tell somebody flat out that he or she is wrong. This will only serve as a blow to somebody’s confidence and create a sense of reluctance for the next time they approach you.

2. Busy

As a leader, never say or complain about how busy you are. You have made a choice and a commitment to put yourself in that position, and it is not appropriate to fret about something you knew you were getting yourself into.

3. Boss

A leader is never the boss. This immediately connotes a sense of power, an omnipotence that may be intimidating for colleagues.

4. Interesting

Interesting is a filler word, much like “um” or “like”. When given an idea or a comment that can elicit a remark like interesting, try to take a moment to think further about what emotions truly arose in that scenario, and then share your thoughts.

5. Sexy

This is a real buzzword in the workplace. “It is not the sexiest task, but it is work that has to be done.” As a leader, it is important to find a different word to use in these situations, this word is too popularized.

6. Never

Definitive words like never reveal a lack of growth mindset. Growth and evolution are essential for any leader, so using definitive statements like something can or never happen are quite limiting. Everything is situational in business and in life, so don’t turn yourself into a hypocrite by saying something can never happen, and then going ahead and doing it if the scenario requires that sort of solution.

7. Done

Your work as a leader is never done. You can always continue growing. You can always continue getting better. There is always something else to do.

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Jordan Gross

Son, Grandson | Reimagining Personal Development | “What Happens in Tomorrow World?” Publishing Spring 2021, BenBella Books, Matt Holt Books