Great leaders take a stance. They do it with knowledge, but more importantly, they do it with the courage to be vulnerable, authentic, and possibly wrong.
When I stepped into my first C-suite role, I was working with a fiery, no-nonsense, executive coach. I was unsure of myself (imposter syndrome wasn’t something I had yet defeated) and I wanted people to accept me. I found myself more responding to others than being grounded in who I was, what I stood for, and how I could lead the organization effectively. In her blunt British voice, she told me I needed to get clear on my Leadership Point of View. It turned out to be a transformative exercise personally and a galvanizing moment professionally.
Developing and sharing your Leadership Point of View is an opportunity for you to set the tone for how you will lead and relate with the people around you. It can be a celebratory event and it is a powerful tool to employ when you are stepping into any new leadership position–within a current company, or in a new one. It is also a chance for you to show your authenticity as a person and as a visionary–in other words, to show up as your best self and showcase your leadership.Sharing your Leadership Point of View, when done from a place of professional vulnerability and true authenticity can win the hearts and minds of your people. When informed by deep listening and understanding of employees and stakeholders it can truly set you apart as a leader.
How to craft your Leadership Point of View
While quite simple in format, a dynamic and authentic Leadership Point of View does require you to be thoughtful about what is most important to convey and how. It is a chance to show your humanity, open yourself to real connections with people in your organization, and be clear about expectations.At its heart, you are speaking to 6 core questions:
- What are the moments that have shaped my perspective as a leader?
- What do I value in life and business?
- What does leadership mean to me?
- What can you expect of me?
- What do I expect of you?
- What is my vision as a leader right now/what am I here to do?
Take the time to really consider how you will show up in this moment. Also consider your audience: is it the whole organization, a particular department, or a single team? Is your audience internal or external and how will your message shift for those two audiences? (Note, if your values shift for the audience, then they are not real values). This is a perfect moment to practice leadership vulnerability, particularly allowing a degree of emotional exposure in how you connect who you are and what your values and purpose are to why the work you have been tapped to lead matters to you.
Sharing your Leadership Point of View, when done from a place of professional vulnerability and true authenticity can win the hearts and minds of your people.
Once you’ve considered your message, consider it’s delivery. This will vary dependent on company size, structure, geographic spread, and organizational methods of communication. Will this be part of a larger meeting or stand-alone? If you combine it with something else, make sure there is a thoughtful transition between your powerful address and whatever comes before or after it. If this is not a stand-alone piece, it should at least be combined with other topics that are supportive of your message and equally inspiring in tone. It should also come from the heart and not be a canned or overly rehearsed version of who you are.
- In-person. This is always best when possible. Consider whether you will deliver to a large or small group, or even several smaller groups at once. Also, will you include live discussion, get-to-know-you, or Q&A at the end?
- Live video. This is the next best option when in-person is not an available option. Again, consider whether you will be addressing a large group or smaller groups. During video presentations it is critical to make sure that you manage all the possible technical challenges that could distract from the power and authenticity of your message. It can also be harder to be authentic if you don’t have the energy and body-language feedback of real people in the room with you, so consider at least being with a small group of peers in the room so your delivery will be more human and less robotic.
- Pre-recorded video. Again, as with live video, be sure to manage for technical challenges, and here you should be extra mindful of delivering in an authentic and warm way as video can make many of us stiff.
- Written. If you have a culture of communicating primarily through the written word, this may work. However, for most people “hearing” from the leader (you) is a literal desire. A written follow-up recapping your address can be a nice touch though.
With each major moment of new leadership (new position, new team, new organization), sharing your Leadership Point of View can be the beginning of a dynamic relationship with the people you are sharing a common goal of success with and a guiding light for how you lead. Reflect deeply and use this as a golden moment for setting the stage. And, most importantly, be you.
To see my notes from that first Leadership Point of View delivered over a decade ago visit here
About Jessica: After nearly two decades of executive leadership in entrepreneurial nonprofit organizations, I did two crazy things: took a year-long international sabbatical and became an entrepreneur myself. Now I spend my time studying cultures all around the world and uplifting the power and importance of putting people first. I started Full Potential Ventures to unlock exemplary professional development and engagement opportunities for socially-minded individuals and organizations. I believe personal and professional leadership has the power to transform how we live and work.