The Language of a Leader
Vandana is an Executive Coach (ICF-PCC), Facilitator & Motivational Speaker with rich industry & global experience. She has more than 2500 hours of coaching & over 5000 days of Training journey, empowering individuals and organizations to achieve true potential. She is empowered with over a dozen degrees and licenses and a catalyst to over 200 clients in various countries like India, USA, UK, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Europe & Africa.
Transform Teams, Drive Business Results
“THE ART OF COMMUNICATION IS THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP” – James Humes
Our Actions display our beliefs, the way we see our world (the perceptions), and the way our world sees us.
Steve, one of the senior executives at a large corporation, had a big challenge. His employees dislike him, they will do the work he will ask them to, but that would be from a space of fear. When any task is done from a space of fear leads to mediocre outcomes. No one ever expressed their feelings to Steve, instead, spoke with others behind him. Some say, ‘he is controlling’; others say he is not a “people person”. Attrition was getting bigger a challenge, employees were ready to jump the ship, grab another job. What were they taking along with them while quitting the job? They were taking an experience that they do not want to live again, unpleasant memories that push them to mediocre self, and beliefs created by hurt, pain, sounds to ears telling ‘I am not good enough, I am not wanted’ and that makes them behave differently.
Steve was in a position of power but lacks the Personal authority of a real leader. He would be forgotten once he will be off this position or when his career ends. Let us be kind and assume that Steve wants to inspire people, his intentions are of wanting to grow the organization and business, but he doesn’t know the side effects that occurred in the process. How can he get people to believe in him? Is it even possible?
In ancient Greece and Rome, they knew: your job as a leader is to persuade people to do great things in uncertain contexts, using only one tool: YOUR WORDS. Compelling leaders, as Aristotle might say, have three qualities that they express through three “languages”: Logos (Agility), Ethos (Authenticity), and Pathos (Empathy).
This is a great tool; However, what are the ways to adapt it for leaders like Steve?
When Steve was made aware of the way of his being and the way others pursue him, time stopped for him. Firstly, he was not ready to believe it, his intent was right, but the actions and the way of his leadership were not right. He went into silence for few days, and that helped him to reflect inside of him. He decided to work on himself, and become a leader who is loved, respected, and remembered. He developed a roadmap to scale up the self-transformation, by re-defining the LANGUAGE OF A LEADER, the Language, the tone, the attitude, and the approach.
The Language Steve adapt to become a leader who is loved, respected, and remembered:
How can I Help?
Steve began to become more empathetic to others, he began to consider other’s emotions and became mindful of extending reachability of self with others. When a team member was struggling with personal challenge or related to task in hand, Steve reached out to them with a tone of wanting to help and support.
What do you Think?
Steve’s team used to be afraid of communicating with him. Especially when they are stuck in a project and need help. Steve, began to silently observe his team performance and when he would notice someone is stuck and need support, instead of waiting till the deadline and then shouting or blaming the member for inability to deliver the work and losing on time, he approached the member and tried to understand where he was stuck. Further, instead of telling what to do, he elicits forward-thinking like what are possible ways to consider and what might come in the way – what can work and what might not work and how to deal with them. A solution-focused approach without dictatorship and making the other person feel safe and comfortable to talk brought a smile, confidence and strengthen their relationship.
Your work Matters
We are so obsessed with outcomes; we think that life is measured in milestones. It is important to understand that sometimes it takes time to reach our goal and that is fine, it does not mean the journey is useless.
Steve had a tough boss just like him who had always pushed him for results – a taskmaster leader? Steve, always lived with that inner feeling of losing out and kept getting pushed by his boss and that became his core belief, and now he, from a distance reflects back to his past and his present, he believes in the lines told by William James, a leader in the philosophical movement of Pragmatism; “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” Steve reached out to every member of his team with a stronger conviction in his words and belief that their work matters to him and the organization. Why? Because it does. It is all about the mindset. His team felt important and wanted by him. It further built the trust and a level of deeper comfort to work together as a team.
I TRUST You and our TEAM
Relationships are built with a strong foundation of trust amongst each other. The value of a good relationship is learned when stressful times arise. Without one, you don’t have open communication and no transparency and need to be resolved by both parties. If they go unaddressed, they become the reasons for growing fatigue, frustration, picking up fights on small things, low motivation and so much more – and eventually, quit.
Steve worked on his relationship with everyone at his company. He became a more altruistic leader, created room for others to trust him. And with honesty, commitment, pious to making it happen. And it happened, the foundation began to get built. His team became less scared of him, slowly began to open up and share ideas and their view on things that matter.
Teamwork management is one of the most important skills of a successful leader.
I was wrong. My bad.
The earlier version of Steve had a high ego. His instinctive reaction to a situation where a mistake happens would be like “Duck and Cover”, protected by any means. He would not admit he was wrong and choose to blame others and lose his temper, get angry. What was the benefit? People dissociate, put their head down thinking it is better to listen to the noise and close the topic. No respect for self.
Steve began to be mindful of his actions and behaviors. He chose to stay calm and not act at the moment. He would evaluate the situation and started accepting his mistakes when he was wrong. By admitting it to themself and others, he realized he was becoming a much calmer, happier, and more approachable self, life became simpler.
I Appreciate your Commitment
It is always good to recognize good in others and especially when they are displaying high values. These appreciations boost the morale, confidence, desire to do more and be motivated to the job. Employees are always happy, committed to their tasks and loyal to their teams, boss, and the organization. The outcome is, it becomes a ‘great place to work’ in the industry. Steve experienced a paradigm shift in team performance.
Thank You for working hard
Underappreciation is a major issue at work that leads to employees leave the company for greener pastures. A manager can not achieve any success without his team. Teamwork management is one of the most important skills of a successful leader. A leader is successful because of his team. Success or failure in a project is secondary, First comes the team, their consistent efforts, their hard work, putting self-first for the common goal of winning or achieving success. Appreciation may sound simple, but it really isn’t; showing appreciation requires thoughtfulness and self-awareness. This was not easy for Steve. He had to work on developing these competencies. He started to be inclusive with the team, be a part of the team, and motivate them to stay consistent in what they are doing. And appreciate them with 2 words ‘Thank You’ for their efforts irrespective of whatever the outcomes.
The outcomes for Steve were his team felt recognized, felt a stronger sense of commitment, morale was improved, and most important of all; it established gratitude in the workplace.
Sounds like a MIRACLE, isn’t it?
My Priority is your career path
This is my favorite language of a leader. A great leader believes in building a leader in each and every employee. Give support, required resources for his development. Allow him to make mistakes the first time, mentor, and give a direction for moving forward. Train to evaluate every situation with a different perspective. Consider his not well-developed skills and give projects that help him develop those skills. This needs a lot of patience and trust in self and his team member that Steve was lacking. Slowly, by building consistent self-work, Steve started practicing it with his teams. And to his surprise, his team members’ performance displayed historic growth.
How did this change happen? It happened because his team felt secured, their future security, feeling like key resource the company and their manager has complete trust and will support in his growth. They were ready to take greater challenges and larger roles and responsibilities by building the required support and learning resources around them. Surely, it must be an aha moment for Steve.
Do you have the Tools to Succeed?
Steve reached out to his team and ensured they have the required tools and resources to succeed in every task. He also began to mentor them and challenge their thinking to consider plan A and have plan B for backup.
This new language of a leader was a life transformation not only for Steve but also for his team and the organization. There is higher job satisfaction, organization culture is greatly improved, employees are happy, motivated to work, a higher degree of commitment and a foundation of trust amongst each other, working towards a common goal with dedication and commitment, more productive teams, reduced attrition, profitable organization, and a GREAT PLACE TO WORK.
Steve adapted to this new language; Logos (Agility), Ethos (Authenticity), and Pathos (Empathy). Now he is Loved, respected, and remembered as a Leader, and you?