The Leadership Challenge: Executive Vocabulary – 3 Tips

The Point: At Tip of the Spear, we’re “lucky” to get exposure to a lot of leaders. Each of these leaders has their own unique way of speaking, and let’s face it, some speak better than others! With a wide-range of personalities, backgrounds, and goals, each executive seems to bring their own sometimes-unique vocabulary to the table. It is this executive vocabulary that sometimes (perhaps every time!), makes us not hear the message they are attempting to deliver. We started thinking, what role does executive vocabulary play in an organization’s success and is there anything a leader can do to enhance their opportunities? So in this post, we’ll explore the leadership challenge of executive vocabulary and provide 3 tips… Enjoy!

The Leadership Challenge Executive Vocabulary 3 Tips

I Can’t Believe What I Just Heard!

“Say what?” we heard a leader exclaim. Not the most outrageous statement we’ve ever heard, clear of vulgarity, and just intriguing enough to make us pay attention to what was to be said next. But it was exactly what was said next that had us scratching our Private Equity | Venture Capital heads! You see, the leader went on to use an executive vocabulary that would have been more appropriate on an MTV-episode instead of the boardroom where we were being pitched to invest in their company.

Just what about using slang/vulgarity is appropriate for executive vocabulary? While some would argue that there certainly is passion at work, is this passion in a desire for performance the most appropriate display of the effort/energy required to have to resort to gutter-speak (or the sewer)? So why do we do it (and we’re all guilty of it every once in a while, right?) The answer seems to lie in either laziness of lack of vocabulary!

3 Tips to offset the Leadership Challenge: Executive Vocabulary

So what follows is our attempt to help you, the leader, offset the leadership challenge of executive vocabulary (In other words, you might be lazy from here forward, but will not resort to inappropriate language due to lack of vocabulary or a strategy to employee that vocabulary!):

Executive Vocabulary Tip #3 – Learn the Right Words

There are over 150,000 words in the English Dictionary (and throw on top the 50,000+ words in the Urban Dictionary and you have a disaster brewing!) What do executives and master communicators do so as to offset the poor choices associated with the leadership challenge of executive vocabulary? They learn the right words that are powerful and practical in use so as to communicate better.

Executive Vocabulary Tip #2 – Learn the Right Way to use the Right Words

What’s at stake if you don’t improve your executive vocabulary? After all, it’s a choice you can make that will determine your career progression. Excellence can be had by ensuring that the right word is at the ready so that you can always communicate your ideas clearly and succinctly with impact. Also, sounding intelligent is important! So make certain you know how to use each word in the proper context.

Executive Vocabulary Tip #1 – Use the Right Words the Right Way in the Right Context

So how do you put executive vocabulary together for a winning strategy, so that you can start receiving those promotions you so rightly deserve and/or ensure that those you lead actually follow? Simple: Learn executive vocabulary constantly. There never is a bad moment to learn a new word for proper utilization!


In this post we’ve explored the leadership challenge of executive vocabulary, along with 3 tips. Employing a much better vocabulary as an executive is not optional (it’s mandatory!) Empower yourself with an executive vocabulary so that you know the words that can propel your career trajectory onward/upward!


Sam Palazzolo

PS – I just published my 4th book, aptly titled “Leading at the Tip of the Spear: The Leader” which looks at the skills needed to successfully lead in today’s business climate. I hope you’ll purchase a few copies for yourself/the leaders you know. 100% of the net profits go towards supporting my 501(c)(3) charity at the Javelin Institute. Amazon’s editors had the following to say about the work:

“In these days when so many expect so much recognition for doing so little, leadership seems easy, when it’s really harder than ever. To be that person who truly takes a chance, makes a stand, and ventures out in front of the crowd requires courage, commitment, and conviction—qualities that more than ever seem to be in short supply. There’s no shortcut to the skills that mark a true leader, but there are definite strategies that can help you set your internal compass, find the right route, and steer others onto the right path.

Leading at the Tip of the Spear – The Leader focuses on the physical, mental, emotional, intuitional, and spiritual abilities that are found in leaders who are willing to lead. You will learn to develop your individual values and purpose, strengthen your foresight and failure-resistance, step up your self-control, plan for any contingencies, and always stay on the offense. It will take effort and energy to understand the proposed process and fully implement it in life and business, but leadership is all about doing hard things for the right reasons. Once you’ve mastered true leadership, nothing can stop you from having the career and the life you’ve worked for.”


Avatar About Sam Palazzolo, Managing Director

Sam Palazzolo is Managing Director at Tip of the Spear Ventures, an agile Venture Capital and Business Advisory Services firm specializing in Mergers & Acquisition, Sales / Business Development & Turnaround Management.