Chances are you’ve experienced a time when your words were taken out of context, resulting in major conflict. There’s no worse feeling than offending someone or being so misunderstood that your character was questioned.
What you say and how you say it is magnified when you are a leader. It carries a lot of weight. Talk about pressure…
Proverbs 18:21 states, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
Your role as the leader involves choosing your words wisely. The way you communicate with your team can either uplift and empower them, or you can kill an idea and their spirit. It’s so important to care about your communications and how it impacts others. Speak from a place of caring and use wisdom with what you say and how you say it. Sometimes the ‘how’ is even more important than the ‘what’.
If you are misinterpreted, have a plan to improve. Be so clear with your vision and values that your team knows what to expect.
Conflict will arise in the workplace, and as the leader, it’s your responsibility to speak up. There are times when it’s obvious to interject and other times when your team is looking to you to chime in.
Leaders cannot be silent, even if it feels uncomfortable. A recent example is an employee conflict during a meeting. One employee was berated by another and you could feel the tension in the room. So what did the leader do? Nothing, except for sitting in silence. This led the conflict to grow bigger than necessary, caused hurt feelings, and made everyone else in the room extremely uncomfortable. Had the leader spoken up, the issue would not have festered.
Little problems should be a big deal to the leader, otherwise they will not get better on their own. And if the leader doesn’t speak up, it leaves room for someone else to speak up, and they might not share the leader’s same values, resulting in a broken culture.
Integrity and authenticity of your voice matters. Is what you say in alignment with your values? If you’re not aligned with what you’re saying, don’t say it until you are aligned. Saying it louder doesn’t make it more aligned.
Don’t be inconsistent with how you apply your values. Be clear in communication of your values, especially when you’re making exceptions or sacrifices.
Lead by example. No, this doesn’t mean that you have to roll up your sleeves and do the same work as your employees. It means holding true to your values, don’t betray them.
Build trust with your team by practicing what you preach. If one of your values is being transparent, then be transparent with your employees so they will be transparent with you. If you shut them out, expect them to keep their guard up with you.
Encourage the voice of others!
“Leadership is finding your voice, inspiring others to find their voice, empowering people and executing actions that get the world better.” – Anyaele Sam Chiyson
One way to inspire others to find their voice? Be open. Ask them what they think. Posing questions helps them to solve the problem on their own. If all you do is talk at them, they won’t be empowered to speak up. It’s your role as the leader to see past the problem and to guide them towards finding solutions.
Don’t assume that people will know what you will say.
Again, leaders can’t stay silent. If you assume that people will know what you will say, you’re opening yourself up to misunderstandings. And if you don’t speak up, then people will decide for you. If they don’t share your same values, the decisions they make for your business will not be in alignment with yours and chances are you won’t like the outcome.
Speak up and explain to people your ‘why’. For example, there might be two perfectly acceptable solutions to a given problem. But the solution that is best for your business is the one that aligns with your values and what makes your business unique. Use your values to explain your decision making process.
How will you use your unique voice to make a difference in your business?