My Word – Leadership is a Choice #33

Jessica Soroky continues her series Leadership is a Choice.

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A word.

My word.

There was a time (that I have only seen in movies) when a person’s word meant something. Giving your word was like swearing on your morals, your values, and you as a person.

The words we use have so much power behind them and so much meaning.

Giving our word has changed over the years but the power words can hold hasn’t. The way we use that power has definitely changed. Our value of one’s word has decreased to such a level that I find myself somewhat alone in believing when someone says something.

I offer my trust based on their word first and foremost. They will continue to have my trust until something shows me they don’t deserve it anymore.

What breaks my heart is the majority of people I encounter, coach, and work with see the opposite in the world. Our words have lost so much value that instead of offering trust first they assume the word means nothing and requires that the other person earn trust first.

As a leader and a learner I have come to realize how much meaning and value I place in our words. You, the reader – the one who comments, both publicly and privately, helped me see the power you place in words. Who knew that being honest on a public forum like this would be something seen as a rarity?

Here is a secret to being a powerful leader…start with your word. DEMONSTRATE the value you place in words, YOUR words and act with integrity when you say something.

Mean what you say and say what you mean.

I am often critiqued for how literal I can be about words. It may not seem like it, because I talk and respond so quickly most of the time, but I choose my words very specifically. I want to be certain the words I choose really portray how I am thinking and feeling.

There is a selfish aspect in this, a desire to protect myself (CYA), but when I really think about it I am attempting to protect those who hear my words. I know I can’t actually protect them – no matter how I say something it is still on the other person to choose how they want to interpret it.

BUT – because I believe in the power and impact words can have, I know that something I say can lead to another person feeling good or bad. So I have become obsessively focused on the words I use.

Now what about the famous quote – “It isn’t what you say, it is how you say it.”

I agree with this quote, the only caveat I have to it is that just as our words can be interpreted in whatever manner the one hearing them chooses, it is the same with how we say it.

I know I am blunt. I choose to be blunt.

I know it is not everyone’s favored approach, but I choose it because I value continuous improvement as much as I value words. I could choose to lighten my delivery and sugar coat things, or put them in a pretty box that is easier to accept, but look at how much time I just wasted even writing that out.

Imagine now how much time I can add to getting to the improvement if I am more worried about packaging the truth or my opinion in a more politically acceptable way than if I just put the message (with carefully chosen words) out there.

Our value of the words we use and hear has only changed over the decades because we allow the value to change.

We conform when others ask us to deliver the same message differently, we stop trusting first and instead CHOOSE to immediately assume what they just said probably isn’t completely true – or worse we assume that it is only being said to further their agenda.

I don’t want to have to watch a black and white movie in order to see a society that could and would swear on their word with the highest of integrity. I want to not be the minority in a corporate world filled with words and yet so empty of meaning, integrity and value.

My every word, these words you just read and have read in previous blogs– house my heart and soul. They house my morals and my values.

They are everything I am.

You have my word.

 

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Jessica Soroky, CSM

IMG_3285Jessica is a Certified Scrum Master with over three years of practice in agile delivery and seven years of team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of nonprofit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.

 

 

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Posted in Responsibility on 12/14/2015 01:00 am
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