Moving into new leadership positions can be both invigorating and paralyzing at the same time. On one hand we are looking forward to sharing the dreams and goals we have been storing within ourselves for a period of time. On the other hand we might feel overwhelmed as to how we will actually disseminate our ideas and vision. We are so focused on revealing our well though-out plans, that we may not take the time or care to present them in the best authentic leadership voice. We know that a message will get lost if it is not communicated in an effective way. We know our presentation is key to how our team receives it. But do you know your leadership voice? Do you even know how to find it?
Remember when you were in middle school and your teacher asked you to write an essay on: Who Am I? What a difficult question to answer; yet what a powerful one in helping us get in touch with all our individual characteristics. As adults this description evolves and might also include the question: Who do I want to be? A great way to begin this process of defining how we want to come across is figuring out what kind of leader we hope to project.
Do you want to lead by listening?
Do you want to lead by using both your ideas and the team’s ideas?
Do you want to create a safe work environment where everyone feels secure to speak up?
Do you want to empower others to take risks even if mistakes are made?
Do you want to cultivate trust and transparency?
Do you want to lead by building sincere and caring work relationships?
Answering these questions can help you establish the fundamentals of your leadership voice. A leader’s tone and non-verbal communication plays an important piece of how others around you will perceive you. But you must always be true to your natural style. If you tend to have a loud voice, that’s fine as long as it has a warm tone, accompanied by good eye contact. If you have a soft voice, that’s fine as long as it has clarity and direction. Get in touch with your body language and hand gestures. Do you know what you look like? Ask people around you how they feel when you talk. Accept that information as a gift.
Finding your own comfortable leadership voice can take time and tweeking. There’s no rush. Try things out. Adjust. Learn. Evolve. There is no right or wrong. Just be the leader you want to be.
How have you found your leadership voice? Did you get input from others? Has it changed over time?