3 Keys to Talking Like a Leader

Feb 18, 2024
A close-up of the back of two people and one man who is tuning into a conversation with a look of quiet curiosity representing how pausing, breathing, and getting curious can show your leadership potential.

Maximize Leadership through Conversations

When you communicate, it conveys your leadership values and potential…whether you’re intending it to or not. Here are three keys to ensuring your voice conveys leader.

Self-Awareness: A Foundation for Leading Through Conversations

Before you open your mouth, check in with yourself. Where are you? What's motivating what you're about to say and how you're going to say it? Tune in to your emotions and nervous system. If you're feeling angry, frustrated, or judgmental and your body is tense and protective, pause and take a deep breath. Take two. If you don't, your words are likely to be critical or destructive to what you want to accomplish. Instead, get curious. What's going on for you? What do you want your words to do? Take a moment and relax your nervous system (keep breathing deeply). Think about how you can talk in ways that will move you towards what you (and others) want to accomplish.

Leaders prioritize managing their inner state to align their words with their intentions.

Dialogue Fosters Collaboration

Don’t have all the answers or you’ll never hear the answers you don’t know. Widen your view by asking questions that make the invisible visible (e.g., assumptions, beliefs), create shared understanding, generate new knowledge, or inspire possibilities. We call these generative questions because they generate new ways of thinking and seeing. Engage people who will be impacted by changes, projects, and decisions. Also include those who have information that might inform, influence or invest in the outcome. By asking and listening, you’ll tap into the creative potential of others and foster collaboration. Dialogue results in people feeling valued; they also develop a sense of ownership in decisions (people commit to what they help create).

Leaders are humble, inclusive, collaborative, open, and genuinely curious.

Cultivating Positive Dialogue for Desired Outcomes

Talk about what you want instead of what you don’t want. Whether you are addressing a complex challenge, giving a performance review, or dealing with an immediate issue, focus on desired outcomes instead of “fixing what’s wrong.” This is not to say ignore a problem; it’s important to address problems. It’s how you do it that makes your mark as a leader. Focusing on “fixing” narrows thought repertoire, it eclipses the possibility that something even better might evolve. Engaging others in solution-finding and possibility thinking inspires engagement, motivation, and creativity—it brings forth their potential.

Leaders foster conversations worth having.

What do your conversations convey about your leadership values and potential?  Why not intentionally ensure your voice conveys Leader.

To learn more, visit ConversationsWorthHaving.today. Download your Conversation Toolkit. Use coupon code LEADERSHIP through April 19, 2024 for a 15% discount off our April 2024 Conversation Bootcamps.

This inspiration is contributed by Cheri Torres, PhD. Founding Partner in CWH Institute, co-author of Conversations Worth Having. For more insights, inspirations, and how-to's, subscribe to our list below. ⬇️



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