Use This One Word to Build Teamwork

Posted by Kristin Arnold on April 3, 2018

I was having dinner last night with a few girlfriends and we were talking about the increasing focus on self.  Yes, it’s important to take care of yourself.  To be curious about life.  To pause, reflect, and meditate.  To constantly improve oneself.

Yet when do you cross that line and become self-centered – where the universe revolves around you?

So here’s a litmus test:  Are you using the word “I” or “we” when in discussion about matters that include others?

It’s appropriate to use the word “I” when you are talking about yourself.  Your dreams and desires.  Your accomplishments.  A self-centered person will use the word “I” almost exclusively.

However, there are plenty of instances where you can use the word “we.” Especially when you want to build a sense of collaboration and teamwork.

For example, “I want you to do this…”  can be easily changed to “How about we do this…”

“I did this…” can be restated to say, “We did this…”

It’s a subtle shift, but shows much more empathy and collaboration with others when you use more inclusive language.


KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator.  She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 20 years.  She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.

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