Your Tone

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Two weeks ago, our water main leaked into our basement causing Bittinger home disruption.  When my wife alerted me to the problem, I had the opportunity to stay calm.  How do you think I performed?  Well, let’s just say that staying calm would have been my first choice, even though I did not react that way initially. What was most frustrating is that my 18-year-old daughter was watching, while I was less than calm.

What is the tone that you are setting as a leader?  If you have a title that designates you as a leader, everyone is watching you with a magnifying glass. The role brings with it the constant evaluation and scrutiny.  You are under the careful watch of others.

Consider the various tones leaders set –

1.) Tone of Anxiety – This leader places their fear and anxiety upon others.  Their followers are tempted to take on the anxiety of the leader to be successful.  Followers you have choice when the leader is anxious.  You can take it on or leave the anxiety with the leader.  You can ask, how can I support you during this time?  Leaders your anxiety is as contagious as the coronavirus.

2.) Tone of Calm – Leaders with a tone of calm allow their followers to own their own anxiety.  The leader may have internal anxiety, but they do not give their anxiety to others. As a follower, you may want to ask your leader about their stress level if it is not evident.  Consider utilizing “I statements…” I feel concerned or I feel worried are good examples of anxiety reducing statements.  This allows you to express what’s happening inside without passing the anxiety on to the group.

3.) Tone of Vision – Visionary leaders consistently share their preferred picture of the future.  Every activity that happens inside the business is focused on reaching the vision.  Typically, followers find this approach inspiring. The drawback is that followers may want to understand the steps to actually reach the vision.  Visionary leaders need to surround themselves with process-oriented employees.

4.) Tone of Indecision – The tone of indecision is challenging for employees because they expect their leader to make the tough calls.   These leaders rarely make mistakes due to their thorough nature.

5.) Tone of Neuroticism – The neurotic leader makes it all about himself / herself.  The personality of the day sets the tone for the day.  Followers wonder what flavor of leader may show up today.

Leaders you have the opportunity to influence your team in a positive way.  Which one of these tones do you default to in your day-to-day?