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Information about KNOW YOUR ROLE
Business & Mgmt

Published on March 11, 2014

Author: CyleMoore1



How the use of words defines who you are as a leader

Know Your Role! Cyle Moore March 2014 2014 CYLEAMOORE@GMAIL.COM

Know you’re role! If you are like me, one time or another some manager or organizational leader has called you or another employee their subordinate. If you cringe every time you hear this word, rest assured you are not alone. Through many years of research on leadership I have come across this word more times than I can count. It does have a place and can be especially helpful when cataloging academic research or when creating statistical studies between leaders and followers. Though I believe the usefulness of this word should stop there! Creating highly productive teams requires that each person on the team feels valued for their contributions and not limited by “know your role” labels. Words matter! The word “subordinate” is descriptive, it describes a relationship between two or more people and if used by a leader can send the wrong message. If you consider the definition of the word subordinate you may better understand how the word can be used as a “know your role” label. Dictionary Definition of Subordinate:  A person of lower rank or position  A person under the authority or control of another within an organization.  To treat or regard as of lesser importance than something else At best this word will leave a bad impression and cause defensiveness, at worst it can create conflict and feelings of doubt and low self-worth. Ultimately it undermines the trust that is needed for great teams to collaborate, making it impossible to build a foundation of achievement.

Recognize your impact! If you want to encourage, inspire, and build trust you have to first reflect on this word and ask yourself these 3 questions: 1. Are you using it as a means to announce your position? 2. Do you feel that your position is what makes you a leader? 3. Do you feel that others are a means to an end and there to achieve your goals? If you answered Yes to any of these questions you have likely run into many team building issues and struggle to retain talented staff. If you answered No, then you can simply replace the word with descriptions such as associate, coworker, colleague, or team member. Each of these replacement words create a sense of equality and collaboration. Essential tools that all highly effective teams recognize that they must have to be successful. The moral of the story? Using words that label people define the type of leader YOU are, if you use words like “subordinate” you are telling your staff and coworkers that you are smarter than them. This will paint a target on your back, impact your organizations culture, and you will lose the opportunity to build trusting cohesive and productive teams. What other words do you feel a leader should lose from their vocabulary?

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