The Leader's Voice

Clark, Boyd; Crossland, Ron
January 2004
Leader's Voice - Business Book Summaries;2004, Vol. 1 Issue 1, p1
Book Summary
Book Summary
Because the subject of leadership possesses the unique quality of being quintessentially timely and timeless, leaders and aspiring leaders return to it time and again to discover and/or rediscover transcendent truths. That is why "The Leader�s Voice" is still worthy of attention, today, despite its publication date of 2002. Since James MacGregor Burns wrote "Leadership" (1978), voices by the dozens have appeared, expounding ideas by the dozens, on the theory and definition of leadership, and characterizing, explaining, analyzing, and assessing the qualities and practices of the �leader.� Nonetheless, this broad array of ideas about what leadership means and what leaders do seems to find common ground in authentic communication. Taking inspiration from such stellar voices on the subject as Chester Bernard, Peter Drucker, Kouzes and Posner, Warren Bennis, the late John W. Gardner, and Tom Peters, Clarke and Crossland fill a void in the literature of leadership by exploring the principles of the kind of authentic communication that originates in the �language of followers.�
Unfortunately, many leaders speak without using all three of the essential communication channels (facts, emotions, and symbols), and their constituents, applauding on cue, fill in the blanks and construct a message that is different from what was intended. The illusion that communication has occurred causes a failure of organizational focus, commitment, and the energy necessary to �move the whole organization.� And, this disconnect breeds communication static that, over time, pushes leaders to resort to command-and-control approaches, which only serve to �break� talent rather than foster it. Clarke and Crossland believe, however, that one voice�the Leader�s Voice, conveyed via facts, emotions, and symbols�can make all the difference. It can energize, unite, and encourage all who hear it to do extraordinary work, communicating so compellingly that it raises the consciousness, conviction, and competence of all constituents. Thus, they offer sales managers, project directors, IT managers, manufacturing supervisors, and executive leadership teams, as well as CEOs, clear principles (rather than techniques) to help them find their own Leader�s Voice and, thereby gain: better alignment around key strategic initiatives, improved productivity, greater leadership credibility, higher morale, increased efficiency, and better communication among all employees.


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