Great leaders know they must provide value to the people who work for them that goes way beyond a paycheck. That value often comes in the guidance, the teaching, and the advice they share with their people. Many emerging leaders wonder how they’re going to find the words to say, and the right voice to share them with. Here are some thoughts about how to find your personal leadership voice.
“Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.” – Stephen Covey
As usual, Mr. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, sees deeply into the challenge of discovering and developing your leadership voice. It is indeed all about inspiration, and the intention to help others succeed.
While there are managers who believe they need to bark out orders and demand performance, a leader seeks to inspire each person in their team to make extraordinary contributions often beyond their job description. Not satisfied to simply obtain cooperation, a leader targets high enthusiasm as what they need most to obtain from their team members.
A Good Leader Knows Their Job is Done When Their Group Says “We Did It!!!”
Great leaders are all about the accomplishments of their people. They embrace and accept that if all goes well the entire team will be celebrated, but if they fail it is the leader who will take the blame alone. This takes tremendous courage, but a true leader finds this prospect exciting.
As such, a leader is about results and obtaining awesome outcomes. They never order people to do anything, preferring instead to influence them to want to do what needs to be done.
For a true leader, success is never a happy accident. Success is the result of deep thinking, careful study, extensive planning, and closely-managed execution. It is to the leader to embrace and protect each plan, making sure that every member of the team makes their contributions on time, within budget, and at a level of excellence that exceeds expectations.
What is a Leadership Voice?
Since the leader of any group is the guardian of that group’s mission, and the protector of their plan, their voice must represent the character of the group. It must always be positive, never complaining, never dismissive, always seeking the best in everyone, always encouraging everyone to do their best.
This leadership voice must always be authoritative yet accessible. Every team member must feel reassured by the certainty embodied within the leader’s voice, but always feel like the door is open for them to input their ideas, their enthusiasm, and their concerns. Even though a leader speaks with authority, theirs must be a very personal voice that speaks with one-on-one intimacy even when addressing audiences in the thousands.
A leader cannot fear to convey what’s in their heart, expressing each emotion honestly and forthrightly. They must embark from a set of beliefs and values that they share with the organization, driving its culture. Finally, they must always be conveying the full depth of their vision for the organization and its mission.
The leader of any group reaches into each of their people and brings out the best in each of them, shows it to them, and enables them to put it into action. They capture imaginations by inviting participation in every decision-making process because they know people do their best when they’re working on something they feel they own. When the group succeeds, nobody points at the leader. They simply celebrate themselves for their success.
How Does One Develop Their Leadership Voice?
This may all sound well and good to you, but you may be wondering exactly what the steps are to developing a voice that contains as much as has just been described.
Fortunately, you come to this challenge far better prepared than you realize.
All of your life you have been exposed to leaders. Some have been poor leaders. Others have been nothing less than phenomenal. You intrinsically know the difference. You feel the difference in your reaction to them.
Start to think about those leaders who have inspired you. What was it about them? How did they so successfully reach into your soul? What did their voice sound like? Was it soft? Loud? It’s been said that high intelligence comes with a low voice. Have you found that to be true?
If your favorite leaders have been written about, read their biographies. Read about their accomplishments. Consider how they conveyed their leadership. When John F. Kennedy said “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country,” it was more than just the words that resonated. It was how he said them. When Martin Luther King declared, “I have a dream,” there was a certain power, gracefulness, and beauty about how resoundingly he declared it.
Each of these leaders and the ones you find memorable have served as examples for all of us. As a leader, so must you. You must be the standard for your team, the one to measure up to, the one everyone looks to so they can model their behavior according to yours. It is the heart of the immense responsibility of being a leader that you must convey positive, constructive, encouraging, inspirational intentions in everything you say and how you say it.
Assistance is Available
New Horizons’ educational offerings go way beyond technology and include personal and professional development courses that help you seek and find your leadership voice. Speak with a New Horizons counselor today about taking the course that will set you on the path to finding yours.