Words that motivate employees are words that create inclusiveness and extend recognition for the contribution of other people make. They are also words that create a recognition of boundaries that each person feels about receiving help.
I read an article on HBR.org about the power in the word “we” and a second article on HBR.org about the power in the word “together.” I have also read on several occasions that the word most people want to hear is their own name.
The attraction of all three of these words is that they create inclusiveness. Picture a discussion about a team’s effort in front of the team members and other people in the company. The discussion goes like this: “Bill and Sue are on our team. Together we successfully create projects that exceed company expectations. Without the great job that Bill and Sue have done, we would never have succeeded on any of these projects. Together, we are a team of winners.”
“Thank you” is a phrase with two words that people appreciate in response to the things they say or do for someone.
“How might we?” are the three words that the company IDEO states as the basis for the beginning every one of their innovation projects.
“I regret my mistake” are four words that build credibility for people who use them sincerely.
“You did a good job” come up frequently as the five best words a person can say to another person.
Again, the phrases “Thank you,” “How might we,” “I regret my mistake,” and “You did a good job” all create inclusiveness by giving recognition for the work of other people and by presenting a willingness of to admit your mistakes.
“May I help you?” is another four-word phrase that helps to motivate people through inclusiveness and by recognizing the boundaries other people may be feeling at the time.
In closing, using words to motivate employees will create inclusiveness, extend recognition for the contribution that other people make, a allow people to relax and focus on the job without co-workers or supervisors intruding on their boundaries.