5 Phrases Leaders Need to Say More Often

The following is by Art Rainer. Art serves as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a cofounder of Rainer Publishing. He has written two books, Raising Dad and Simple Life, and lives with his wife, Sarah, and two sons in Wake Forest, N.C. This article originally appeared at Art’s personal website.

Your words carry a tremendous weight for those on your team. And too often, there are important phrases that get left out of our daily meetings, phone conversations, and emails. Here are 5 phrases that ministry leaders need to say more often.

1. Thank you.

  • Or “Great job.”
  • Or “We could not have done it without you.”
  • Or “I am glad that you are a part of the team.”

Team members need to know that their work is noticed and appreciated. I love this quotes by Andrew Carnegie:

“No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.”

The leader who takes absolute credit for success will not successfully lead a team for long. It is the leader who acknowledges that he is nothing without his team and praises them accordingly that continues to succeed.

If you are looking for a way to start thanking your team members, try writing a thank you note.

2. You make the decision.

Releasing decision-making authority can be difficult for some. The leader’s internal battle over this occurs because empowering others means that specific items might not get done in exactly the same way that would have done them. This is not to say that leaders should never make decisions, but the leader who does not eventually say “You make the decision” will find himself overwhelmed with details and having created a ceiling for the ministry.

3. How can I help you?

Always look for ways that you can assist your team members. The best way to determine what they need is simple – ask. And while you might not be able to do everything they want, you can help with, at least, a few items.

4. You failed, but I know you won’t do it again.

I have noticed that the simple acknowledgement of a team member’s failure greatly reduces the likelihood that they will ever repeat it. Carrying on about the failure or belittling the team member may stroke the leader’s ego, but does little to produce an improved team member. Great leaders have the ability to acknowledge the fail but not make team members feel like failures. Let your team member know that he or she is more than a single failure and that you have full confidence that they not do it again.

5. I made a mistake.

Because we all do. The leader who pretends that he or she does not make mistakes will have a team that is afraid to take risks.

Undoubtedly, there are other phrases that ministry leaders should say more often. If you have any recommended additions to the list, let me know.