Stop With The Pronouns!
They are weak.
They are uncaring.
They are impersonal.
They are pronouns.
I must first say that I have never seen anything written on this…which might say something. But, I firmly believe there is tremendous value in the little example I’ll share in the next few paragraphs. And, by the way, I correct myself; I have heard my wife share the same opinion on pronouns. And that’s all the backing I need.
Think about your last leadership team interaction. Your managers were there with you. And you were talking, leading, strategizing. Whatever. When you came to a point of indirectly referencing one of your leaders, did you do so by name or did you use a pronoun? Stay with me here. This is important, whether they even notice or not. Because we do, at some level. We all notice the difference. In the following simple examples, let’s assume everyone is present.
Take him with you on the next call. Rather, take John with you on the next call.
You’re going to need those reports from her as soon as possible. Rather, you’re going to need those reports from Jane as soon as possible.
She’s going to offer her ideas, then… Rather, Anne’s going to offer her ideas, then…
Don’t discount this. I know of several leaders who make this mistake often. And I know they care. But their words don’t tell a caring story at times.
Research has consistently shown that a person’s own name is the single most important word to him/her. Our name is intimately tied to our identity and value as a human being. Whether or not you use a person’s name, and how you use it, has a profound effect on their impressions of you.
When it comes to those close to you – your family, your team, your friends – keep it personal, by NAME.