Fellow professional speaker and good friend, Donald Cooper, makes this excellent point in his December newsletter:
“In many conversations with business owners and their teams I’ve been amazed and distressed at how many business owners use ‘I’ and ‘my’ when they should be using “we” and “our”.
They constantly say, ‘I did this and I did that.’ and refer to ‘My factory, or my store and my customers’ and they do this right in front of their team — the same team that they want to feel connected, engaged and committed to the business.
The words ‘we’ and ‘our’ fall so much more gently on the ear and the soul than the words ‘I’ and ‘my.’ They engage and honor people. They create a bond of true teamwork and cooperation. So, choose your words carefully and send the right message to your team.”
Once again, Donald is right on! You can read more of his insights at www.DonaldCooper.com. I read his observation just after speaking at a management conference with an organization that followed a team building executive retreat with the senior leadership team. A key executive who leads a core part of the business epitomized the lines from the Beatles song “coming on strong all the time, all through the day I me mine.”
This executive proclaims a need for engagement, teamwork, and ownership while wrapped up in his me-centric ego. Not surprisingly, he’s seen by his peers as a key source of division and conflict on the executive team and chief silo builder between his division and others.
These are small glimpses of big ego problems. Me-centric managers aren’t inspiring team builders and don’t create highly engaged cultures.
How’s your Me/We Ratio? How do you know?