Communicating in a way that rallies your team to move forward and overcome challenges as a unit isn’t easy to figure out. According to an engagement and retention report by Achievers, a workplace recognition and engagement platform, 82 percent of employees surveyed wished they were recognized more regularly.
Although managers and other members of leadership influence team morale, peer recognition, and feedback increased employee performance by 14 percent, according to Achievers data. Whether your coworker is having a rough workweek or you’re a manager looking to motivate your team, certain phrases encourage morale and raise confidence in the workplace.
Here are a few phrases to adopt into your everyday communication.
“We couldn’t have delivered X in time without you.”
This phrase acknowledges your colleague’s contribution and is a reminder of how their work contributes to the team’s shared goal.
“How can I help?”
Offering to take some of the load off of a struggling coworker fosters a cooperative relationship. This is also an especially valuable phrase for managers. It shows that leadership is willing to support their team by getting hands-on when employees are struggling.
“I’m not sure what’s the best move here. What do you suggest?”
This type of communication signals that you’re aware you’re not infallible. When this acknowledgment is shared with a peer or employee, it invites collaboration and new ideas.
“Walk me through how you got here.”
Instead of outright saying, “what you did here is wrong,” this more patient, professional phrasing demonstrates that you’re leading with empathy: Your first goal is listening to their perspective and seeking to understand their rationale.
“I trust your judgment.”
Empowerment is a key motivator for some colleagues. This affirmation shows that you believe in their aptitude, skill, and ability to get the job done.
“Let’s open this up to the team—what does everyone think?”
This is an effective motivational phrase for managers, because it emphasizes equity between leadership and employees. Rather than the manager’s approval being the only thing that matters, it asserts that team buy-in is just as important.
“I don’t have an answer this moment, but I’ll get back to you tomorrow morning.”
The key point with this phrase is setting expectations. By offering your colleague a timeline for follow-up, it says you’ve heard their needs and will dedicate time to ensure their question is addressed.
“Here’s what’s going on, and what it means for you.”
Sharing difficult news is better received when you’re clear about how it affects your employee. Ensure that they don’t have to read between the lines; be clear, direct, and fair when explaining how this update affects them.
“I appreciate you.”
Recognize your team members early and often. Positive words like this are a simple acknowledgment of their contributions.
“You’re onto something. Tell me more.”
Sharing ideas on how to improve processes, systems, or enhancements to a product or service can sometimes be intimidating for colleagues to share. This phrase positively recognizes innovative thinking and invites team engagement.
“We’ll get through this.”
Using the word “we” in this phrase tells your colleague they’re not alone when facing a challenging workplace situation. It’s also reassurance that whatever the challenge is, it’s something that will be overcome.