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Instead of focusing on the banished words list, let’s use these 5 phrases more in 2022

There are more than enough words and phrases we want to banish using in 2022. But, there are also plenty of phrases we should use more often this year. Research from the Fresh Start Effect shows it’s more likely you’ll start something new after a break, a weekend, or even a birthday. So, if you haven’t made your New Year’s resolution yet, consider committing to something beyond getting back into the gym. Here are a few phrases I’m resolving to use more in 2022 as a leader and people manager. My hope is that they’ll help to inspire people to express gratitude, save time, and retain key people in 2022 and beyond. 

1. “Let’s cancel this meeting”

Middle managers spend more than one third of their time in meetings, and for more senior-level people, that figure can be even higher. No one ever looks back on their career and wishes they spent more time in meetings. So if you can have the courage to really look at gatherings that no longer serve their purpose or eliminate people who don’t need to attend, you’ll find that your team will be more productive and less fatigued. 

2. “What can I do to support you right now?” 

With Omicron spiking, people are feeling like the pandemic is far from over. Many parents are struggling to navigate close contact notifications and school closures on top of everyday stresses of an ever-evolving landscape. Asking “how can I help” is great, but can often be viewed as a platitude, so getting specific and granular on how you can best support someone in a way that works for them, is imperative. 

3. “I really appreciate you”

4.4 million Americans left their job in September 2021 alone. People have more options than ever for where to work, and headlines are dominated with stories about people changing jobs or roles. Given that, leaders need to get really good at being specific, clear, and direct about what they value in people who work as part of their team. Whether it’s handwritten notes, a shoutout in a meeting, or as part of performance reviews, make sure you thank people for the impact they bring to your team. 

4. “I’m rethinking my position on this”

Adam Grant’s newest book, Think Again, talks about the power of changing your mind. As a leader, there can be exorbitant pressure to feel like you know it all. This results in many managers feeling tethered to their opinions, and as a result, treating them as fact. In 2022, I’m going to spend more time asking people to challenge the status quo or conventional wisdom with data, and attempt to be less personally connected to my opinions on things. 

5. “Here’s what I learned from my mistake” 

Acknowledging that you made a mistake as a leader is critical. It’s equally important to own what you learned from it, so you normalize failure but also the associated insight that comes along with it. After a recent blunder, I sent a detailed write-up of what went wrong and what I learned from it to the folks on my team directly impacted. Doing so was helpful for me to really own where and how I messed up, but also opened up the door for them to hold me accountable to improve upon it for the next time around. 

As a leader, your vocabulary sets a strong tone on how your team operates, so choose your words and intentions for 2022 wisely. These quick and easy phrases can help you demonstrate empathy, humility, and transparency, and help your team grow meaningfully together well beyond the month of January. 

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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