Lifting Others with Your Words

October 25, 2020
Mary Jo Asmus

My husband brought the mail in and said, “You received notification of a certified letter in the mail.” I knew what it was for, since a client’s earlier check had been lost in the mail and I expected it to be reissued and sent via certified mail.

I replied to him, “Yes, it’s a check, but a very small one.” He countered with, “Isn’t receiving payment for something you did a good thing, no matter how large or small?”

A spouse, like other significant people in our lives, can be our conscience when we lack one, reminding us to be grateful for the good things and to be careful of the words we choose to use. I appreciated Ken calling me on this one.

His response made me think about how we moderate good things that happen with words that deflate. We know what that can do to our own attitude and the attitudes of those around us. There are plenty of recent scientific indications that emotions are “catching,” and most often we spread emotion with the words we use. When we are intentional about our words, we can choose to spread positive emotion or negative emotion; to lift or deflate.

Enough of the news we hear every day is negative. As leaders, it is important that we take responsibility for choosing our words wisely to lift others when the news is good.

Consider the words you use when speaking of good news:

“Yes, but…..”


“If only……”

Instead, how about using these words:


“You did well on that.”

“I’m grateful for you.”

Stop and think before you speak. Good news should be expressed with words that express the good news and lifts others.

More From Mary Jo Asmus

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Five Ways for Leaders to Orchestrate Better Team Relationships

Mary Jo Asmus is an executive/leadership coach whose work spans decades of making a difference in the lives of hundreds of executives, leaders and teams in Fortune 500, mid- and small-sized business, governments and nonprofits. She focuses on facilitating individuals and teams from first-line supervisor to the C-suite to create, develop, and influence the relationships that can make them extraordinary.

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