Talk Like a Leader – Think Like a Leader
Which comes first the chicken or the egg? In terms of the age-old context of evolution, I’m not sure anyone can say for sure.
But in terms of leadership – the answer is sometimes the chicken and sometimes the egg.
What do I mean by that?
Well – in the context of thinking like a leader and talking (or behaving) like a leader – there is no one answer. Of course, if you can think differently (and you need to as a leader), then that will lead you to do things differently – and then you will end up be-ing different as a leader.
Here’s the thing. You can start this cycle anywhere. If you start to do different things, then you will become more skilled or behave differently which will affect your thoughts. It works both ways. And sometimes the ‘thinking’ bit is the most difficult aspect to change by just…well….thinking about it.
If the problem with your leadership skills or styles is in some part down to how you think, then it isn’t easy to think your way out of that.
Think back to the first time you were given a bit of responsibility you didn’t think you were ready for. It could have been your first team leader or management role. It could have been stepping in for your boss at short notice due to sickness or emergency. It could just have been the first time your Mum left you in charge of your siblings.
The point is you survived that – even though you didn’t think you were ready.
Sometimes in order to believe you can do something – you just have to DO it. Getting on with stuff, talking like a leader, for example, builds in you the confidence that you can do it. And trying different things can be the quickest way to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Specifically, when we are considering how to talk as a leader, you won’t know what works until you do it. However, there are some general considerations. Language is very important.
Some key points about talking like a leader.
Great leaders do not use ‘superlatives’ frequently.
Unless you are American, “awesome” is something that leaves you in awe. Like seeing the first moon landing. Most things just are NOT awesome. And your team knows that. So they would rather hear you say they had put in extra effort, or the data on the project was very accurate, than have you say it was ‘awesome’, ‘great’ or any of the other meaningless through overuse, words.
Sound like you mean it.
If you are empathising – you need to SOUND like it. Otherwise, it is a platitude. If you are enthusiastic – SHOW that you are enthusiastic in your voice, otherwise it sounds fake.
Many leaders worry too much about the content they are delivering and not the delivery. Public speaking skills are very helpful here and well worth investing in.
Authenticity is important.
If you say X one day and Y the next you better be prepared to explain your reasoning. It is fine to change your mind based on data, or circumstance. But explaining and communicating that are critical.
Having the tough discussions and calling a spade a spade.
I am not talking about being unkind here. I am talking about being clear. If you are not happy with a teams performance, you need to explain why, what specifically needs to be improved, by when and how you will support the team to make the changes. Bosses who expect their teams to infer what you mean by how you behave, are often disappointed, and then blame the team or individual for poor performance, instead of themselves for poor communication.
When you talk like a leader (even if you don’t yet feel like one) people listen to you. When you convey your values, and vision clearly, then people start to see you are a leader. And when other people start seeing you as a leader it increases your confidence and belief in yourself as the leader you want to be.
When you haven’t experienced something before it can be really hard to think about it logically, influenced as we are by our entrenched beliefs. Talking like a leader will help you think like a leader and vice versa.
If you want this year to be your best year yet as a leader in your business or organisation, then come along to our free Kickstarter event and Unleash Your Quiet Leader Brilliance.
Register Here – the date is Monday 18th January. See you there!