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Empowering Language
Clawson, James G. Technical Note OB-0400 / Published November 5, 1991 / 17 pages.
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This note describes ways in which managers can learn to empower their employees through the way they communicate with them. The note is intended as a thought piece before doing skill-development exercises on the various approaches outlined in the note, including listening, clarity, invitations, and descriptions. Language is our primary means of communication. It constrains our thinking, reflects our basic values, and is the most common medium for the exchange of our thoughts and beliefs. The language we speak allows us to convey certain thoughts and causes us to be confused about how to convey other thoughts. Indeed, language can prohibit us from grasping and understanding certain concepts and can make other concepts available to us. With its power as the central vehicle for communicating goals, thoughts, plans, instructions, requests, and so on, in business settings, language is perhaps the most important management tool we have.


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  • Overview

    This note describes ways in which managers can learn to empower their employees through the way they communicate with them. The note is intended as a thought piece before doing skill-development exercises on the various approaches outlined in the note, including listening, clarity, invitations, and descriptions. Language is our primary means of communication. It constrains our thinking, reflects our basic values, and is the most common medium for the exchange of our thoughts and beliefs. The language we speak allows us to convey certain thoughts and causes us to be confused about how to convey other thoughts. Indeed, language can prohibit us from grasping and understanding certain concepts and can make other concepts available to us. With its power as the central vehicle for communicating goals, thoughts, plans, instructions, requests, and so on, in business settings, language is perhaps the most important management tool we have.

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