The Language of Leaders

Using Motivational Communication to Inspire

Collaboration, problem-solving, and decision-making are important to leadership, but a quality that distinguishes the best managers is significantly underused in the workplace. It is the skillful use of language to motivate people.

This session explores motivational language theory, which says that how a manager communicates with employees significantly influences their performance. The ability to choose the right words for the right occasion and to craft messages that influence employees’ thinking is critical to a manager’s career today.

Three types of language can help managers motivate employees to improve performance:

Direction-giving language is used to set goals, explain tasks, give feedback, and show transparency.

Empathetic language conveys respect, sensitivity, and understanding. By praising good work, providing encouragement, and being supportive when there’s a setback, a manager will strengthen commitment and loyalty.

Meaning-making language explains behavioral expectations, the organizational vision, and the company’s cultural norms (the unspoken behavioral “rules”).

Motivating language helps a manager build relationships with her team, strengthens the employee’s sense of well-being, and leads to improved performance.

To learn more or to get details on pricing and schedules, please complete our contact form or call 207-232-7563.

By Ken O’Quinn

Focus on Them Focus on Them

As a contributing author in this book on leadership, Ken offers insights and tips for managing difficult conversations, providing effective feedback, and being authentic. Order here.


Perfect Phrases for Business Letters (McGraw-Hill) Perfect Phrases for Business Letters

Provides the right words and phrases for any situation - quickly. The book was reprinted in Japanese because of high-volume sales there.


TD at Work — Business Writing for Managers

The Association for Talent Development invited Ken to write this 22-page booklet for the TD at Work series.

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Praise from Clients

Participating in your course was one of my best experiences in the past few years. It was such a pleasure to be in a room full of people whose goal was to strengthen their writing, and you did a fantastic job of leading the class.
Jerry PetrieRaytheon

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