The Power of a Leader’s Words

As a person of faith I like to start out my day with early morning studies. I came across a set of scripture verses that really resonated with me and gave me great insight into a leadership principle I find invaluable. Tucked away in the the literature of the Old Testament is a key character named Boaz found in the story of Ruth. Boaz is described as a land owner and “a man of great wealth.” The story takes place during the labor-intensive time of the barley harvest. Boaz was fully staffed with a large crew of barley reapers.

As Boaz approaches the laborers he is employing, the first words spoken by Boaz is “‘May the Lord be with you.’ And they replied to him saying, ‘May the Lord be with you.’”

Here’s my question: Is there a correlation between how Boaz speaks to his employees and his great wealth? I say, yes, absolutely. Whether you are a person of faith or not, the principle is the same. Speaking words of blessing, affirmation and warmth toward those you lead engenders trust, confidence and warmth back to you in great measure.

Skeptics will say this is a Pollyanna moment and will open the door for employees to take advantage of you. I disagree and choose to make decisions and take actions based upon the belief that I have hired smart employees and professionals who truly care about the quality of the input of their contributions leading to excellent results. If they don’t measure up, then it will become evident and I will act accordingly.

I choose not to treat my people according to the lowest common denominator. Rather, I will speak to them according to my lofty expectations of them and according to my highest regard toward them. This will spur on even greater trust and confidence from them in me and the mission of the business.

Throughout a typical day, there will be opportunities for you to respond to employee situations accordingly with words of challenge, correction and guidance. But just as Boaz, the man of great wealth, let the first words you speak be words of blessing, affirmation and warmth.