Notice I did not say "comforting words". Making a difference is just that, to make different. As a leader, there are times when the words we chose have a profound opportunity to make a difference for someone else. This difference could be positive or negative depending on the leader's approach, choice of words, or tone in which they deliver the message.
It is never easy to have a contentious conversation with someone, however with the right mindset, a leader can ensure that even the most difficult of conversations remain optimistic, genuine, thought-provoking, and well-received. With preparation and a commitment to finding a solution, having a difficult conversation can make a positive difference not only towards the unwanted behavior but also in the relationship. Conversely, a leader's ill-prepared conversation can assume an emotional tone leading to expressions of anger and intimidation. This will only create a hostile work environment in which a follower feels threatened, defenseless, and vulnerable; eroding trust to the point it may never return.
As a leader, you WILL make a difference with your words, think about them and be certain your words create the desired outcome; your words ARE the power to influence change.