Leaders need to be clear about what they mean if they want to help the team to improve.

This includes being specific about the definitions of words. Many words will get tossed around without much thought as to what they actually mean.

And a thing cannot be improved if a leader cannot articulate what it is.

Below are a few examples of key words with definitions that I like. You might disagree with the definitions, but any leader should be able to describe what the following are:

Leadership…getting results and creating an environment in which all team members are intrinsically motivated and empowered to create value.

Culture…what we agree to do and how we do it.

Empowerment…The ability to determine the nature and quality of one’s work.

Engagement… The degree to which a team member is willing to give discretionary effort.

Every leader I know wants the team to improve the things on the list above. Some are better than others about being clear to their teams about what those things really mean. The leaders who are good at articulating what they mean, are more likely to discover effective actions to improve them.

Garbage in, garbage out. If you are fuzzy about the definitions, you will be fuzzy about the results and the steps to get there.

Get in the habit of being clear on what important things mean. It is the only way to get meaningful results of which you and the team will be proud.

PS If you have alternative definitions of the words above that work well for you, I would love to hear them. I am also interested in definitions of other words like innovation and accountability….

PPS If you might also want to review my nine tips to improve engagement—without all the fluff.