The Power of Your Leadership Voice

Leaders, mentors and people with positions of authority have enormous power in many, many ways. But today our topic is not about the power to make decisions, or set rules or regulations, or run the P&L. No… today our topic is the power to impact the way people around that leader see themselves. Because the simple fact is that people in positions of authority play a disproportionate role in the sense of self for the people in their charge.

And this power needs to be used carefully, and respectfully.

Let’s pivot for a moment and start with an examination of the parent/child dynamic. We all know that parents have a huge impact on how children see themselves. In most households, the feedback that the parent gives almost entirely forms the early versions of the child’s sense of self. The things they hear from their parents every day will play a critical role in forming what that child see when they look in the mirror. Children who grow up in a household with positive reinforcement tend to have a stronger sense of self than children who don’t. And many adults spend the rest of their lives with the voice of their parents inside their head, positively or negatively shaping their confidence. If the child grew up with negative reinforcement, that child will almost certainly become an adult who struggles with managing that voice of negativity inside their head.

Let’s now pivot to the school environment, because the same things happen there. When a young student experiences a teacher who expands their sense of self, who listens to them, who believes in them, that young student will remember that teacher for the rest of their lives. And when a young student experiences a teacher who diminishes them, that too will be carried with them for the rest of their lives.

The same is true in the workplace. When we meet that leader who listens to and believes in us, and expands our sense of our capacity, we remember that leader forever. And the same is true for the leader who who diminishes us. And this goes beyond your internal team. I coach others for a living, and I know that the best role I can play in their lives is one of positive, but honest, reinforcement. I give feedback for a living, and while honest feedback is important, it is equally important to build it upon a foundation of trust. The clients I coach and advise have to know that I believe in them.

Of course, in all of these examples — parent, teacher, business leader — we need to be careful of going too far. Too much positive reinforcement without anything corrective creates a different problem. The key is to be a voice of balance, but one that is based on a foundation of support, encouragement, and belief. Because the greatest gift we can give each others is belief. There is nothing more powerful than having people around you who believe in you.

My colleagues and I use this space to write about communication and leadership skills in the workplace. And my message today is directed at anyone with a voice of authority. The most powerful way for you to use your voice is in service of others, and to use your voice to expand your team’s sense of its own capabilities and power.

Your leadership voice matters. Your leadership voice is powerful. Use that power carefully. And the when you do, you will positively influence everyone around you.

Good luck, and have a great day.

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.