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The Leadership Talk: The Most Powerful Leadership Tool Of All (part 1)
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Summary: The author asserts that presentations and speeches are the least effective means of leadership communication. There is a much more effective way: the Leadership Talk. In this three part series, he describes underlying principles of the Leadership Talk and ways to help develop and deliver it.
Leaders speak 15 to 20 times daily. You speak at meetings, you speak across their desks, you speak on the phone, you speak in e-mails, you speak at lunch, beside the water cooler, and on elevators, etc.
It's in the interaction of those speaking encounters, multiplied daily, month in and month out, year in and year out, that you become a successful leader or not.
If those encounters are defined by Leadership Talks instead of presentations/speeches, the effectiveness of your leadership will be dramatically increased, not only in your job but in your career.
Here's why: There's a ladder of verbal persuasion. The lowest rungs (least effective)of which are presentations and speeches. Primarily, they communicate information.
But the highest rung, the most effective way to communicate as a leader, is through the Leadership Talk.
The Leadership Talk not only communicates information. It does something much more. It has you establish a deep, human, emotional connection with people – so important in motivating them to achieve results.
Once you understand the Leadership Talk, you'll find it's indispensable to your leadership. You'll never go back to giving presentations/speeches again.
I'm going to show you what it is and a few tips on using it. But first, let's understand this important point: If leaders don't measure up, it's often because they act under the wrong premises. Here are two golden leadership premises that drive The Leadership Talk.
Premise one. Leadership is about one thing only, getting results, however you define and measure them. If you're not getting results, you're not a leader, or you won't be a leader for long. Leadership is not a measure of results; results are a measure of leadership.
That seems simple enough; but many leaders either ignore or misunderstand this premise. They may not know that getting results is their raison d'etre. Or they may be focusing on the wrong results. Or they may be going after the right results in the wrong ways.
If leaders don't act on the above premise, they'll go wrong in countless ways.
Premise two: The best leaders get more results, get them faster, and get "more, faster" continually.
This too may seem like an obvious point, but it is a point many leaders miss as well. In leadership, the greatest sin is the greatest treason, to get the right results for the wrong reasons.
For example, many leaders think that they can cost-cut their way to achieving a robust organization. Don't get me wrong: Cost-management should be an on-going effort in any organization, but to rely on it as the primary results-generator can lead to an organization being driven into the ground. Achieving "more, faster, continually" means going beyond an exclusive focus on cost-cutting and getting results by tapping the heart of what the organization is all about.
And the heart of any organization is purpose and people: the combination of its central purpose and the actions of the people who manifest that purpose. Those people must be enlisted as cause leaders. Cause leaders do more than accomplish their jobs; they actually take leadership of those jobs and by doing so bring a special motivation, vision, and initiative to the jobs.
Leadership is not position, it's performance. If you are a floor sweeper, say, you best accomplish your work not simply by doing floor sweeping but taking leadership of it: in other words, approaching the job with the distinctive initiative, care, and commitment that leadership entails.
These two essential premises beg the question, how do leaders get more results, faster results on a continual basis?
The answer is simple: through the Leadership Talk.
The Leadership Talk is a powerful results-generator, maybe the most powerful results-generator you'll ever use. It works through your interacting with people so that they become motivated to be your cause leader(s) in achieving more results faster, continually.
Leadership Talks can be formal ways of communicating but mostly they are informal. Unlike a speech, they are usually interactive. They can be delivered anywhere: at a conference table, over lunch, at a water cooler, across a desk. (One of the best Leadership Talks I have witnessed was given by a plant supervisor to one of his team members at a company picnic while they sat on the back of a truck, sipping beers.) And in many cases, an effective Leadership Talk can be given when roles are reversed, when the audience speaks to the speaker.
Finally, though the methodologies I've developed for The Leadership Talk are new, its roots go back into the mists of history. Throughout history, when people needed to accomplish great endeavors, one thing had to happen, a leader had to gather them together and speak from the heart. That leader had to give a Leadership Talk.
In the next two parts, I'll describe the essential elements of the Leadership Talk, so you can start developing and delivering them right away.
2005 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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