One of the marks of a good leader is how that person chooses his or her words. What a leader says (as well as how he or she says it), can make all the difference in the morale of those who are being led.
Maybe you know what it's like to be on the receiving end of a caustic, biting remark. It's not fun. It's not particularly productive, either.
Studies indicate that sarcasm is a poor long-term motivator. Worse, a leader who uses it creates a climate where negative speaking and thinking becomes the rule, resulting in a weakening of mission capability.
I'm not talking about the kind of jovial, good-humored and well-intentioned comments that are the lifeblood of the service when there's time to kill. I'm talking about backbiting, veiled complaints and bitterness that often accompany sarcastic attitudes - and that type of caustic commentary has no place in the communication plan of an effective leader.
Sarcasm is, in the opinion of some, a veiled expression of despair. Napoleon once said, "A leader is a dealer in hope."
That doesn't mean we are supposed to use sugary language around each other. It means we are called to speak forthrightly and respectfully, understanding that our words have meaningful spiritual significance. Our words can, as the writer of Proverbs says, either pierce like a sword or be an agent of healing. When we use our words constructively, we remain valuable leaders who are expressing our faith and inner strength while increasing our value to the mission.
LEADER PRAYER: Lord, may our words bring confidence to the ears of those who hear them. We will strive, by the power of your Spirit, to keep our discussion positive and constructive. When we fall short, help us to pray the words of Psalm 141:3, that the Lord would set a guard over our mouth and keep watch over the door of our lips. Amen.