I attended a Bible study with CEO’s and other leaders from the Phoenix area. The theme of the study was this: “Words are the most powerful tool of leadership.” That thought has stayed with me. With words, armies march. With words, peace starts. With words, love begins. With words, relationships end. And with words, leaders lead. Yes, what we do matters tremendously. I’ve blogged earlier about “servant leadership” and putting action to your words. But today, I’m pondering…and I’d like you to also…how my words are used to lead others.
A great friend of mine, Rick Hayes, and I wrote a short devotional on the book of James. We both reflected on James’ teaching of our words in chapter 3. “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire.” You don’t need to be reminded of how a small spark can turn into a raging fire. 465,000 scorched acres and $43.1 million dollars later described the Rodeo-Chedeski fire of Arizona in 2002.
James is not terribly complimentary of man’s ability to control his tongue. It’s obvious that our tongues do not come with warning labels or childproof containers. During World War II the government printed some posters that showed a drowning soldier in the ocean, with four words printed at the bottom of the picture: “Loose Lips Sink Ships.” What you say can change the course of a business, a relationship, or even a war.
Here are a few things that might help us all. Think more. Talk less. Listen better. Those three things just might “raise the bar” of your leadership.