Today I’m kicking off a regular feature here at Ramblings From a Glass Half Full, “The Leadership Thought of the Week“. This is a parallel effort to what I’m doing at my job right now as an operations executive – working with my team to develop great leadership throughout the organization.
Every week at our staff meetings, I’ll be highlighting different aspects of good leadership, in an effort to teach and inspire positive and proactive actions in the field.
As 2008 unfolds, I’m pleased to be able to let you all “under the tent” to follow this journey each week, in the hope that you too can take away something useful for your leadership learning.
This week’s thought concerns words. As leaders, we spend a great deal of time in front of our teammates, putting out a lot of words for them to process.
In our business, oftentimes those words hit the intended ears first thing in the morning, when most of us are still shaking off the morning fog.
So how do we put words together that can cut through the fog – that can not just impart information, but bring folks to positive and productive action?
The answer is to look beyond the words themselves, and more towards the structure, presentation and delivery.
For example, if words are delivered in a monotone, without inflection, emphasis, or even better, passion, it really doesn’t matter what you are saying. They will fall flat.
If the words that are delivered are “over the heads” of your audience, it will sound nice but everyone will walk away with little comprehension.
If the words are not put in a logical sequence, the major concepts are not repeated several times, and are rather a “jumble” of unconnected thoughts, the audience’s minds will wander (or just shut down).
I break it down to:
- Inflection (preferably infused with passion)
To end the discussion with my teammates on this topic, I chose this famous quote by Adlai Stevenson in November of 1960 (from Time Magazine) to sum it all up:
Ex-Candidate Adlai Stevenson, trying to describe the difference between himself and the man he was introducing, Candidate Jack Kennedy, put it poignantly to an East Los Angeles rally last week: “Do you remember that in classical times when Cicero had finished speaking, the people said, ‘How well he spoke’—but when Demosthenes had finished speaking, the people said, ‘Let us march’?”
(check out the links to these Roman statesmen – I found this facinating)
What a great question to ask ourselves after every presentation or speech – “Will they march“?
And a great “Leadership Thought of the Week“. Check back next Wednesday for the next chapter of this journey.