Do You Believe In The Power of Words?

Do you believe in the power of words?

By Daniel Bauer


Recently the LeadUp tribe has been deeply engaged in exploring the power of words.


This is for good reason to – we are in a season of New Year’s Resolutions and a trending way of creating resolutions is through choosing One Word that will be like a personal mission statement for the year.


My 2016 word is Honor.


I chose this word because I’ve been under the spell of the following idea shared nearly by every leader I interview on my podcast


I’m in a season of learning to improve my people skills and connecting with others.


Listening is a great way to connect. Encouraging through a note or kind word is a great way to connect.


Underneath all of this is the idea of honor. I want people to feel better about themselves, their situation, better about everything … after I’ve interacted with them.


I know this is a personal BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) as Jim Collins would say and it’s worth it!


What would my school look like … what transformations would occur if I could accomplish goal and honor everyone I come in contact with leaving them better than when I found them?


How do we know words have power?




Two of my favorite verses about words come from the book of Proverbs.


Proverbs 18:21a states “There is both the power of death and life in words.”


Proverbs 16:24 teaches, “Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”


One doesn’t have to be familiar with these proverbs to know the power of words. Think back to some of your fondest or even worst memories.


Can you remember the words spoken during that time?


Educators, both admin and teachers, are keenly aware of the power of words.


Through assessment and evaluation educators are constantly sharing feedback about performance. This is tricky territory with the ability to give life and death.


My worst moment was as a novice teacher with poor classroom management I once told a student that he was an embarrassment to his school, family, and country.


Ouch! What was I thinking?!? Why did this venom spew from my mouth?


I was incredibly frustrated at some negative behavior in my class and I didn’t have the emotional intelligence needed to deal with the stress involved in teaching.


Thankfully years of experience and a drive for self-growth has helped me develop into a leader that uses his words wisely.


With my words I have been able to inspire nearly 100 at-risk students to complete the Chicago Marathon and raise over $25K for clean water projects in Africa over the last three years.


It is common for staff members to stop by my office and let me know how much an encouraging word or note I shared with them meant, or they might send a note via email.


(Look for Part 2 from Daniel on


More Resources


This post was inspired by some of my fellow LeadUp tribe members. I highly encourage you to read their one word blog posts below.


Neil Gupta – “Not Yet


Sandy King “Growth


Sara Holm “Up & Winning


Mark French “Gratitude


Matthew Arend “Moment


Heidi Veal “Significance


Lena Marie Rockwood “Balance


“Untitled” by Lauren Peng licensed via CC2.0


Daniel is passionate about education, and serves as a high school administrator in Chicago, IL. Daniel also is the founder of @_BettterSchools