Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What is Your Sound?

As an executive coach, I have potential clients say to me that they don't want to lose their unique style in order to be a better leader.  They don't want to have to follow some pre-determined formula to find "success".  But leadership is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.  Each leader is made of an unique blend of leadership qualities.

In the movie “Ray”, there is a great scene where Ray Charles and his future spouse are having brunch and he innocently asks her if she likes his most recent record.

Ray: Did you like my new record; the one King Bee was playing?

Bea: It’s not that I don’t enjoy your music; it’s just that I feel I heard it before. I keep wondering what the real Ray Charles sounds like.

Ray: The real Ray Charles, who’s he?

Bea: Nobody if you don’t know.

In this small vignette is a powerful lesson for any senior leader; you must know who you are to become exceptional. This is really more than simply being genuine or looking to stand out in a crowd. It is about establishing your own unique voice, a voice that touches those around you in a profound way. For a senior leader, this includes your values, beliefs, expectations, motivations and many other intangibles which continually evolve as life experience is gained.

Ray Charles was heavily influenced by gospel, jazz, and blues and out of these forms he created a whole new sound, the Soul music of today. But he didn’t stop there, through the years he branched into country, rock, and classical; adding his own unique sound to each form.

Similarly, many business leaders have had mentors who significantly impact their leadership style. The best of the best, have integrated these insights into their own unique and personal sound. Much like Ray, their sound is greatly influenced by their OWN life experience and continues to evolve. People want to follow these leaders; they are charismatic.

Spend some time thinking about how your unique life experience is reflected in your leadership style. Think of some key events in your life that have helped shape who you are and what you are about. Then, take action and begin sharing these lessons with others.

To be a great leader, you need to know your unique sound. Take it from me, if you listen carefully and thoughtfully, you will hear it.

All the best!!!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent Tim. I agree, to be successful every executive MUST know as well as believe in his or her own "unique sound."