I had three follow up strategy meetings in three consecutive days with three companies. Two went well, the last one was fine, but it wasn’t the same because of two words. I and me.

As a leader your choice of words are important as everything you say carries weight with your employees, clients, partners, and vendors. One quick way to disengage your staff is to act like it’s ALL coming from you. The words, I and me show that. Not in normal conversation but when talking in meetings, especially when the topics are about credit, ideas, and direction.

For example:

The reason why I decided to focus on manufacturing was because …


The reason why WE decided to focus on manufacturing was because …

One word but a totally different meaning to everyone listening. Yes, you made the decision to go in new direction but how many people researched, reported, recommended, and budgeted to get you to that decision?

Sometimes this is habit. Founders or companies that started in a garage have a leader where “I” was true for a long time. It’s a habit and it’s tough to break.  But, it’s necessary as the business grows.

The other part is ego. “I want the credit. I want the kudos. I want everyone to think or know I’m smart.”  Stop it. This has the opposite effect.

Every rule has its exception. The exception to this rule is when it comes to taking heat. As a leader, “I” take the heat. “We” win.

Simple, right?

Bottom Line: It’s a choice between 4 words but it makes a giant difference creating a healthy culture and being a true leader with your team.

Dan Cooper

Dan Cooper

Dan is a Partner and Growth Catalyst for Acumen, a mastermind community that exists to sharpen, challenge, and inspire CEOs and Owners through affinity-centric advisory teams, executive coaching, and leadership acceleration workshops.

Jon Schram

Growth Catalyst - Kansas City

Click here to learn more about Jon.

Jon is a husband to his wife Jill, a dad to Gracie, Cooper and Lucy and an unintentional serial entrepreneur.  Jon founded and led one of KC’s leading IT Support companies (The Purple Guys), regularly recognized on the Inc. 5000 list, the Corporate Report’s Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies, a Best Place to Work and being one of the KC Chamber Top 10 Small Businesses of the Year. Before that, he founded and grew an IT Staffing firm, growing from $0 to $10M in revenue in just 4 years, being recognized as Kansas City’s Fastest Growing Company. He’s passionate about leadership and businesses that impact their community. From experience he also understands the issues of an owner/CEO. Jon is an entrepreneur who likes to empower others to grow their business, become more efficient in all they do and enrich their story line. He has been a member of the Acumen community since its inception. 

Connect with Jon on LinkedIn.