Whether you speak in a loud or soft voice or tend to be speedy or more paced in your communication, there is one most important piece to being an impactful leader- using an authentic voice. Just think about the leaders you have worked with throughout your career. Which leaders left the greatest impression on you? Which leaders were you willing to partner with and create the most successful projects? Which leaders did you trust to know where they were headed and feel certain they had your back? I’m going to bet what made those leaders so influential was their ability to be truthful and genuine in sharing their vision and words.
It may seem simple enough to speak honestly, and yet sometimes leaders get caught up in a messy delivery. Perhaps the stress of meeting deadlines results in mixed messaging. A leader might feel the pressure to just get the information out to their team or organization with little thought about how it will be received. However, we all can pick up on an insincere presentation. It can make us question the words being offered by that individual. We essentially shut down, resulting in the leader losing credibility.
The good news is that there are many tools in our leadership toolbox that we can draw on to ensure we are using our true leadership voice.
Four tips to lead with your true leadership voice:
1. Plan Ahead and Do Your Research
It may be true that there is little time to prepare for a presentation, but doing your homework on a topic or the status of a deliverable will provide great clarity. When teams hear that substantial research was done and time was taken to analyze the data, people will believe in what they hear or read. On the other hand, when we sense that inadequate preparation went into sharing a message, the leader will usually get an abundance of pushback.
2. Build A Compelling Purpose
A vision without a purpose is just an empty line of words. This happens to leaders when they are not certain why they are moving in a particular direction. It may be that an organization is pushing you to continue with the goals they set many years ago and are super committed to the status quo. Sometimes we are just too busy to delve into the true intention of our project. Building a compelling purpose:
- Elevates the level of clarity of your message.
- Helps develop your credibility as a leader.
- Galvanizes team members to join in with you.
3. Choose Words and Non-Verbal Language That Align With The Message
To speak your truth and have your message disseminated in a powerful way, don’t overlook the words you choose and the way you express them. A leader’s words need to be reflective of the intent of their message or others may not hear what is being presented. Vocabulary that is clear and consistent with the values of an organization will be recognized as meaningful. It can be helpful to include a company’s vision and core values in your messaging, while making sure not to sacrifice your core values too. Additionally, let your body support those important words by using your eyes, hand gestures, tone, volume and speed to help the message come alive.
4. Have The Courage To Speak In Your Unique Way
The cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz was right on point when he emphasized the essential trait of “Ccccourage” (yes, he used a bunch of c’s). Leaders can get caught up in trying to model the way a colleague or boss speaks. That often backfires because it doesn’t match the leader’s unique voice. A critical element in leading with your true leadership voice is being confident. Have the courage to be you by:
- Honoring your truths.
- Believing in the value and worth of your message.
- Standing up straight, shoulders back and adding a warm smile.
How do you lead with your true leadership voice?
Related: Five Ways to Lead With Curiosity