Leaders’ public communications can make their careers — if they remember their real audience. Some leaders mistakenly act as if big public communications are all about themselves, while their teams think that communications should be about them. They will be sensitive to the number of “I’s” versus “we’s” that the leader uses. Yet teams also want their leaders to be forceful and decisive in taking responsibility for improving the situation. This requires a few strong “I’s,” like “I will.”
So how do you know when to use “we” and when to use “I”? It’s important to use “we” when describing positive accomplishments, and “I” when taking responsibility for stumbles and indicating resolve to make changes. The people on your team know the difference, and they’re listening carefully.
Adapted from “Every Leader’s Real Audience” by Rosabeth Moss Kanter.