Most Powerful Words

During a recent personal retreat, I heard a speaker share several examples of powerful and empowering words – what he called the most powerful words– and over the past month I’ve added on to this list. Most important, I’ve started to realize that using these words with our team members (and communicating the messages that go with them) is the most effective and impactful way to engage, empower and motivate your team.

At the retreat, the speaker shared what he called the three most powerful words, the four most powerful words and the five most powerful words. I’ve now added the two most powerful words and the one most powerful word. As I share them below, consider the ways that you can begin to use them and share them, both personally and professionally.

  • Five most powerful words – I am proud of you
  • Four most powerful words – I believe in you
  • Three most powerful words – I love you
  • Two most powerful words – Thank you
  • One most powerful word – Present

Not only are these words powerful, but they’re short and simple … and yet they’re often noticeably absent from our communication (at home and at work).

Imagine a workplace where you and your team members commit to each other to be present. Rather than telling someone that you’re listening, you tell them that you’re present. In what ways will that change your leadership, your team and your organization?

Imagine a working environment where you and your team members regularly express gratitude to each other for each person’s efforts and presence on the team. Rather than ignoring people’s contributions, you consistently tell them thank you. In what ways will that impact your leaders, your team and your engagement?

Imagine an organization where every person regularly hears the message (if not the exact words) I love you. This is what comes through when you let people know that they matter, that they’re important and that you care about them, their lives and their career. In what ways will this message foster trust, commitment and strong relationships within your team and organization?

Imagine a team where every member regularly hears the empowering statement I believe in you. Several years ago, I challenged people to engage in a blessing challenge – to tell at least one person every day that they believe in them. I did this because I know the power of blessing another person and letting them know that you believe in them. We know this power, yet we fail to offer this blessing to others, including our team members. In what ways will regularly telling your team members I believe in you impact the team, communications, commitment, engagement and outcomes?

Finally, imagine what your team environment will be like when every team member is regularly affirmed by hearing the message I am proud of you. Let them know that you’re proud of them, their efforts, their growth and their contributions. In what ways will this affirming message shift how your team members see themselves, each other, the team and the organization, as well as shifting their commitment, engagement and motivation?

Fifteen words, five messages and one outcome – providing your team members (and anyone else in your life) with the opportunity to feel seen, to be blessed and to experience what it means to be truly valued. These most powerful words, when genuinely shared, will create teams, relationships and people who are empowered, engaged, committed and motivated. Not bad for just a few most powerful words.

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