How To Pick The Leadership Voices Who Will Build Your Leadership

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This article is part of my Global Leadership series; Insights from more than a decade of leadership training around the world…

As a leader, you will always have voices willing and eager to offer you advice. The key is knowing which voices have weight.

The voices with weight will…

  • Stretch you,

  • Develop you,

  • Champion you,

  • Work alongside you.

Voices without weight will simply hand out their recommendations. They are not invested. They are not in the trenches. And to be an impact leader, you need to spot the difference. You need to pay attention to the weighty voices.

I was working with a team in Australia who, I was told. were leaders who supported the senior leader. But after several trips out to Australia, I saw very clearly that the senior leader was not supported by a people with enough weight; he was surrounded by a group of advisors. They were well-meaning people to be sure, but they didn’t have skin in the game. They were simply doling out recommendations.

As a leader, you must learn to select the right voices to guide you.

1. The right voices have a stake in the outcome

The right voices shoulder the responsibility together. They back up their recommendations with a shared sense of resolve and commitment. Their voices say, “Here’s what we should all do.”

Light-weight voices deflect the responsibility. They say, “Here’s what you should do.”

2. The right voices have a team mentality

Pay close attention to the voices of those who value a team approach. The mantra of weighty voices is, “All for one, and one for all.” Weighty voices value the voices of others.

Light-weight voices speak in isolation.

3. The right voices are willing to roll up their sleeves

Weighty voices stick with it until the mission has been accomplished. They roll up their sleeves and stay in the game. Less weighty voices may not give the mission another thought until the next time their advice is requested.

Based on what we saw in Australia, we built an entirely new team. Gone were the light voices, in came a team of leaders with a clear mandate; we needed far more than their recommendations; this new team was required to get their hands dirty, dive into the issues, and support the senior leader with action, not just words.

Within a year, the organization was beginning to soar.

Take stock of your team. Are they “roll up their sleeves”, get-in-the-trenches leaders? Or are they advice-givers.

It may be time to build a new team. Because maximizing your leadership needs a hefty team of leaders, not a light group of advisors.

the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.

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