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  • Writer's pictureFahad Khalaf

What Language Do You Use? The "We" or "I"?

I’m very passionate of Leadership skills and working with my deliver knowledge to individuals how to transform their current personality to leaders’ personality. Talking about leadership is too long and complicated as it required a lot of sacrifice of behaviors that individuals got used for several years and it seem in somehow it is working with them but it won’t for long term. I won’t be talking about leadership now but I will be focusing in this article about a communication approach and words that contribute towards shaping up leaders personality.

I will be talking about the “We” and the “I” word. I remembered going to one of the client’s meeting and the client is one of most leading and powerful entity in it’s industry. As usual, I started with quick brief of the company, then discussing the services we provide and how can we service them in somehow. During my discussion, I usually use the “We” word as I and my team mates are working as one team and everything is done collectively under one umbrella. While I’m talking, suddenly one of the senior guys stopped me and started to say, what do you mean by WE. By default, I responded it means I and my team members. He replied back by saying I don’t want to know what your team do or can do, he said what you can do. Then I responded back by saying, we means myself and my team members working collectively under my supervision.

Then I noticed, that they didn’t get it or didn’t like it when I use the “We” word as they can’t understand the value of the team member they are responsible of. Then, I have to do word change of using the “I” word instead of the “We” word. I didn’t feel comfortable using the “I” word as it is not my thing and didn’t used to it after transforming towards leadership personality. Then, I started promoting one of the services that we provide in our recruitment and consultancy firm then suddenly one of the managers started to dump himself mentioning some of his achievements by saying the “I” word. There is nothing was mentioned among the people I met about the “We” word and always the “I”.

Moving to the execution plans and recommendations, I started to mention that we (our consultancy and client) could work out in some how to achieve the required goals. Suddenly and again, one of them stopped me by saying, what do you mean by we; is you and we (client) or we as your team. Again I responded, we as myself and my team member and yourselves. Then, I started to get uncomfortable with their communication approach and skills or conducting the meeting. Thanks god that I managed to keep my temper calm and cool till end of the meeting. The meeting is over and left. I started to do some research of people that I met and organization’s culture. I figured out that the organization’s culture is not team oriented with high turnover in several of their roles. Beside of that, due to the professional and word of mouth among the society with regards to their corporate culture, roles and positions are unable to fill for quick sometime reaches to almost 2 years. In addition, the guys I met have been in the organization for quick sometime (years) without knowing how things are going and grown in the market. I shall write another article of how it is important to swap jobs, roles or responsibilities in another article.

Conclusion: I never thought that one day someone will start challenging me with their seniority level of my choosing the “We” word instead of the “I” word. In addition, surprised that in this seniority; people are unable to understand the important of their team members and how effective they could be. By mentioning the “We” word, that doesn’t mean that you are excluded from what your team members do; however it is extra positive approach by saying that they are performing well under your supervision which highlight the effectiveness your management and leadership skills. I know that there will be a lot of disagreement of me or with this article however it is very important to highlight one of the small things in some people personalities that makes huge difference either in particular way or an overall. I wanted to share my thoughts that I’m aiming to be helpful and hope to could be life changing to others.

Let me know your thoughts and have a great day. Best Regards


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