My experience working with thousands of leaders world wide for the past two decades teaches me that most leaders are screwing up their careers.
On a daily basis, these leaders are getting the wrong results or the right results in the wrong ways.
Interestingly, they themselves are choosing to fail. They’re actively sabotaging their own careers.
Leaders commit this sabotage for a simple reason: They make the fatal mistake of choosing to communicate with presentations and speeches — not leadership talks.
In terms of boosting one’s career, the difference between the two methods of leadership communication is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.
Speeches/presentations primarily communicate information. Leadership talks, on the other hand, not only communicate information, they do more: They establish a deep, human emotional connection with the audience.
Why is the later connection necessary in leadership?
Look at it this way: Leaders do nothing more important than get results.
There are generally two ways that leaders get results: They can order people to go from point A to point B; or they can have people WANT TO go from A to B.
Clearly, leaders who can instill “want to” in people, who motivate those people, are much more effective than leaders who can’t or won’t.
And the best way to instill “want to” is not simply to relate to people as if they are information receptacles but to relate to them on a deep, human, emotional way.
And you do it with leadership talks.
Here are a few examples of leadership talks.
When Churchill said, “We will fight on the beaches … ” That was a leadership talk.
When Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you … ” that was a leadership talk.
When Reagan said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” That was a leadership talk.
You can come up with a lot of examples too. Go back to those moments when the words of a leader inspired people to take ardent action, and you’ve probably put your finger on an authentic leadership talk.