Being a real estate team leader isn’t all about getting others to do what you say, and polite communication isn’t just about political correctness. It’s about earning your team’s respect so they want to perform in excellence. It’s about allowing everyone to feel comfortable in voicing their opinions and contributing to the team’s success. When working with your team—or even when talking individually with a coworker or client—consider leaving out the following words and phrases.
Girl or gal: “Carrie is the kind of gal everyone loves working with.”
Depending on context, these words may imply gender bias or unequal power. There are plenty of other ways to refer to a teammate. Try: “People seem to enjoy collaborating with Jane.”
Guys: “Good morning, guys. Let’s get started.”
Sure, you hear it everywhere, but that doesn’t make it right. Pick a term or phrase that’s more inclusive to refer to a group of people, like: “Good morning, [everyone, people, my awesome team, y’all]. Let’s get started.”
Kiddo: “How’s your first week going, kiddo?”
While you may use kiddo as a term of endearment to refer to younger colleagues, some people consider it patronizing and infantilizing. Like girl or gal, kiddo implies an unequal distribution of power in the workplace. Remove the word from your business vocabulary completely: “How’s your first week going?”
Son: “We don’t do it that way, son.”
Here’s yet another word that’s all about establishing hierarchy and perpetuating an uneven balance of power. There’s only one context in which it’s appropriate: when speaking to family.
Just, only, or but: “Are you just concerned about cost?”
These terms may unintentionally signal narrow-mindedness, bias, and an unwillingness to consider out-of-the-box thinking. They also tend to cause the person with whom you’re speaking to react defensively. Try rephrasing your sentence to something that fosters constructive conversation over arguments: “Are you primarily concerned about cost?”
As a real estate team leader, the words you use in business communication with coworkers and clients can make the difference between admiration and contempt, inclusion and inaccessibility, and inspiration and indifference. Choose your words wisely and express yourself like a confident, respected leader.