The Language of Leadership
by Sterling Van De Moortel
World-class leaders stand out because of who they are as well as what they
do. They embody, demonstrate and evoke the qualities that Kathleen Spike recently
portrayed: vision, purpose, values, confidence, authenticity, integrity, ommitment,
inspiration, results, truth, trust, compassion and choice.
In addition, and possibly above all else, consummate leaders distinguish
themselves by HOW they do so. They apply the power of intentionality. They
CONSCIOUSLY COMMUNICATE these qualities in their lives and their environments.
Through their actions and their very way of being, they intentionally model what they want
to call forth in those they lead. For example, they not only ACT in a visionary and
purposeful way; they actually EMANATE a sense of vision and purpose as well. Think
of Gandhi or Churchill or the CEOs of Hewlett Packard and other cutting-edge
Skilled leaders know that they convey these qualities largely through HOW
they language themselves. They avoid taking language for granted. They recognize and
use the creative and transformative powers of their language behavior. (Yes,
Virginia: language IS a form of behavior!)
They seize opportunities to create what they desire through their language.
So let's look at how skilled leaders consciously communicate the three Cs
from the list above: Clarity, Compassion and Choice.
* LANGUAGING CLARITY *
Consummate conscious communicators language themselves accurately,
specifically, and distinctly, avoiding assumptions. Here's how some unconscious
language patterns can be reformulated more consciously.
I'm here to serve the company.
I'm here to assure that each employee gets the support s/he needs to contribute full-out
to reaching the company's goals.
Everyone needs to perform full out.
How can you each contribute your very best?
Yeah, we're kind of shy of our goal.
We're 17% short of our goal of $1.5 million.
We all know what to do to succeed.
What will it take for us to succeed?
* LANGUAGING CHOICE *
Consummate conscious communicators language themselves in a way that
highlights choice. Here are some conscious reformulations.
How should you address this?
How do you choose to address this?
Everyone has to support this goal.
What would serve the company best?
We need to contain the damage.
How do we intend to do what's right?
* LANGUAGING COMPASSION *
Consummate conscious communicators language themselves so as to demonstrate
or evoke compassion ("sympathetic consciousness").
Just do it!
Are you willing to do it?
How can I facilitate this for you?
What will it take to do it?
What's wrong with this picture?
How can we all win on this?
PUTTING CONSCIOUS COMMUNICATION INTO PRACTICE
The next time you have an opportunity to show leadership, pause to clarify
your intention before proceeding. (What outcome do you intend?) Then embody
that intention. Demonstrate it through your actions ... and through your conscious
choice of language. Let me know how you experience it.
PS In case you hadn't noted, most of the suggested rephrasings are in
question form. Why do you suppose that is?
Sterling Van De Moortel
Express Success: Language Your Life
Sterling champions professionals, business people and individuals to express
themselves authentically and vibrantly in all aspects of their lives ... to transform
their lives through empowering language ... to become who they say they are. His
motto: "The best way to predict the future is to create it."
CONTACT STERLING TO SET UP A FREE EXPLORATORY SESSION AND"LANGUAGE
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© Sterling Van De Moortel and Coaching Works, Inc. 2000