Use Your Words: Positive Language and Effective Management Techniques

Use Your Words: Positive Language and Effective Management Techniques

There’s more than one way to skin a cat, as the classic idiom states – and likewise, there is always more than one way to address a given issue at work. And while it might sound a bit “New-Agey” or a bit saccharine, keeping things positive and upbeat tends to improve results as well team loyalty and morale – so naturally that is something that our virtual business supports.

So without further ado, here are some examples of positive ways to provide feedback and develop a management style that promotes loyalty while still remaining professional.


Honey Tastes Sweeter Than Vinegar

There is another classic adage that applies to most work-related communication. you catch more flies with honey rather than vinegar. And while being sickly sweet or overly friendly tends not to work for most management styles, there is often no reason for a project manager to be abrasive or angry either (without a very good reason, such as a major screw-up or an insubordinate employee, perhaps).

While it may be easier said than done (especially in the aforementioned scenarios) keeping an even, calm tone also tends to help maintain a peaceful and friendly atmosphere in the office. For instance, would you react better to “I need those edits within an hour!” delivered in an agitated tone or “You’d be everyone’s hero if you can get those edits on my desk in an hour or less” said in a much more peaceful way? The vast majority of team members would likely react better to the latter – even those thrive under pressure. Being a tough boss doesn’t mean being mean-spirited, after all.


Phrasing Is Key

The exact same sentence can come across as a demand, a request, a question, or a mandate, simply depending on how it is phrased. For example:

  • ”It is your responsibility to update the Facebook page daily.”
  • ”I’d appreciate it if you’d keep the Facebook page updated on a daily basis, please and thank you.”
  • ”Do you have the time to update the Facebook page on a daily basis?”
  • ”The Facebook page must be updated on a daily basis as per brand standards.”

Essentially, all of these sentences are the same “ask” from a manager to a team member, but they come across very differently, whether they are delivered in person, on the phone, or via email or other digital means. And while sometimes being more stringent is indeed necessary, most of the time going for the more relaxed approach will result in a smoother collaboration.


Watch Your Tone!

How many times have many of you heard from that your parents or teachers growing up? As irritating as that memory may be, they were right on some level though – the tone you use matters, whether it is spoken or written correspondence. In fact, it might be even more vital to pay attention to the words you use in emails or text, especially if you are working with a virtual assistant or telecommuting team, since they won’t be able to hear the inflection in your voice or see the expression on your face.


What are your favorite ways to communicate in a positive way and provide constructive criticism? Share them in the comments or via Facebook and Twitter.


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