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From: Seasoned Campaigner [Sc@Streetsmart.co.Za] Sent: 13 July 2005 04:01 AM

From: Seasoned Campaigner [Sc@Streetsmart.co.Za] Sent: 13 July 2005 04:01 AM

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Seasoned Campaigner [sc@streetsmart.co.za]
13 July 2005 04:01 AM
Letter from the Streets – Leadership SpeakLetter No. 54
 All leaders talk, but it is the power of their talk that decideswho will win or lose. In fact, talking is a leader’s most important job! 
Done right, talking is an incredibly powerful business tool. Throughendless conversations, a leader must continuously use dialogue toinfluence and direct the workforce, build relationships, buildnetworks and ensure sharp organisational focus. The true leader does this by building the vision he has for the company andinspiring others, through his words, to buy into, and commit, to thatvision.This all-important vision is not the corporate speak statement,which took days (even months) to articulate, and then framed andhung on the wall. The vision we are talking about is the one, whichcomes from the heart and is imparted with such passion,commitment, enthusiasm and rigour that few people will be able toresist the urge to become excited in response. This is how youlead people! Tell your people stories about your vision. Paint thepicture in words. Words that tell the story and paint the picture fromseveral different angles yet carry the same fundamental message.It is like describing a mountain. Some days you will tell the story of the mountain when the sun is at its zenith, on others when themountain is seen at sunset, or sunrise, or even when it is beingsubjected to the wildest storm. Different stories, but the samemountain!
The true leader repeats the message at every possible opportunity,never hesitating to do so. These leaders are on the constantlookout for different ways to get the same message across. Theyconnect in personal ways, through e-mail, voice mail, notes andpublic addresses. They take every opportunity available to maketheir voices heard, even on the busiest of days.
This isLeadership Speak! 
 However, if the voice of leadership is not genuine, and does notreflect the real person behind the words, untold damage will bedone. This means that the leader needs to reach a well-definedlevel of understanding, and acceptance, of just who they are, whattheir values are, and what their purpose is. It means that they mustbecome honest enough to accept that they may have been wrongat times, leading with their vulnerabilities and putting their fears infront of them.Meaningful Leadership Speak does not just happen. It results fromskills learned by the leaders, evidenced by the fact that they getthings done – make things happen. They habitually take action,demonstrating that they match what they
with what they
.They recognise that not all people hear the same message, andthis is where the real skill comes into play – to truly connect withthe different types of people in their team. They know that withsome people they need to paint the big picture. Other people needto be shown that you genuinely care about them, and then thereare those who just want to be involved simply because they thriveon the energies of enthusiasm.A primary requisite for harnessing Leadership Speak is that theleader must learn to trust and be trusted. Leadership Speak is onlyeffective when people feel free to share their wants and needs andhave confidence that those they share them with will not punishthem. Think of trust as a bank account. Every time you tell a co-worker, supervisor or employee that you will do something andfulfil that commitment, you are making a deposit into the account.On the other hand, every time you don’t follow through, you are
making a withdrawal. The first time you fail to follow through, thedebit against the account may be small; the person you let downmay think you had a bad day, or you simply forgot. But as thenumber of unfulfilled promises grow, the debits against the accountget bigger. Finally, after a series of unfulfilled commitments, your trust account will be closed due to insufficient funds.Obviously, in developing your skill in delivering Leadership Speakyou need to address some uncomfortable ground. You will have to:- Start speaking about the ‘unspeakable’ - the subjects thathave been taboo in your company for a long time. This situation ismerely an organisational defence mechanism because it is simplytoo dangerous or painful for employees to discuss the problemsthey and the company face. It is only through initiation discussionsaround these issues that they are brought into the open. It is onlythrough opening the wounds and cleaning out all the infection outthat healing can begin to take place. At first this may be veryuncomfortable, but who said Leadership Speak was easy?- Tell people the unembellished truth at all times. Don’t skirtaround the issues by telling people that everything will be fine.They deserve to know the dangers. They need to know the rules of engagement, and what the risks are of ignoring these rules. Tellthem what to expect and how they will benefit once the ultimateobjective has been achieved. Make everyone very aware of what isexpected of them, each other and of you, the leader.- Challenge people to take ownership and voluntarily makethemselves accountable for the outcomes of the roles they need toplay. Ask for their support and commitment!

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