The Language Of Leadership

Posted on 29. Oct, 2013 by in Character, Communication, Lead From Within, Leadership, Leadership Development, Life Balance, Life Skills, Personal Development, Workplace

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 9.01.20 AMPainters have a brush, sculptors have a chisel, surgeons have a scalpel, and conductors have a baton—and leaders have language.

In a way, it is language that makes our reality exist. Attaching language to an event, experience, or circumstance allows it to be interpreted, understood,and shared.

We do not speak language; language speaks to us.

 

Talk is the most ubiquitous social activity that human beings engage in. Not surprisingly, it is language that builds the social and cultural worlds we live in. It is arguably the most important resource for exercising more effective leadership.

Language is a system of communication; it is the critical link between the created present and the uncreated future, it is the glue that binds our reality into results.

For leaders, language is a vehicle for making decisions, resolving disputes, enacting practices, measuring results, and sharing innovation and creativity.

Like any other language, the language of leadership has to be learned, honed, and practiced.

The roots of language are logos, ethos, and pathos—the division first coined by Aristotle. We can think of them as an open mind, open will, and open heart.

Logos is the Greek word for “word,” representing the process of thinking. Our thoughts are filled with logic and reason. Logos is leading with an open mind of inquiry. Inquiry leads to new interest, which in turn leads to insight—a hybrid of knowledge and understanding derived from an “inward sight.” The more open your mind and the greater your depth of observation, the more information you can attain.

In leadership language, an example might be:OK, we’ve thought this through and discovered every logical reason why this approach didn’t work. Now it’s time to ask more open-ended questions and see what insight we can gain.

Ethos is the Greek word for character (and the source of the English word “ethic”), representing leadership with open will. Ethos is leading with character when we lead with character we build credibility. When we have credibility, we are trusted.To lead means to take chances, to follow new paths. Open will means surrendering to chance, allowing what may come to emerge without resistance.

In leadership language: “Last quarter we did well, but this quarter we have to do great. What can we do differently? What can we give up? What is something new we can try that will help us excel?”

Pathos is the Greek word for feeling and passion. Pathos is the leading with open heart. As a leader, you must have an open heart to relate to others, the language of heart is passion, compassion, and caring.

In leadership language: “I know that this restructuring has been hard for you. Your workload has tripled, and I’m sure you’re extremely stressed. What do you need to make your job easier? I’m here to help.”

With an open mind (logos), open will (ethos), and open heart (pathos), we can be the kind of leader who understands that others must see our character, our courage, our tenacity to be empowered and inspired by us—to be led by us.

Once language is evolved, all of human life is changed.

 


Lead From Within: The function of language is not only to communicate information or label things, but also to bring about an effect on the people in our lives.

For coaching, consulting, workshops and speaking. Please feel free to contact me.
© 2013 Lolly Daskal. All rights reserved.

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23 Responses to “The Language Of Leadership”

  1. Alli Polin

    29. Oct, 2013

    Language truly can transform us as it deepens relationships and invites us to join together to explore new possibilities. The language of leadership is important to understand because just as our words can extend a virtual hand to others, words used carelessly can be a slap in the face or close doors of connection.

    I’m chewing on the logos, pathos and ethos. Lots here for leaders to consider and embrace.

    Thanks, Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
  2. lollydaskal

    29. Oct, 2013

    Language does transform, it can impact or it can break someone.

    What we say is important, the understanding the roots of language helps us understand how people listen. hear and understand language.

    Thanks for stopping by Alli I truly appreciate you
    Lolly

    Reply to this comment
  3. Panteli Tritchew

    29. Oct, 2013

    The Celtic and Anglo Saxon Bards and Druids were both revered and feared because of their command of language. Their phrase for it was “word-hoard,” literally, treasury of words.

    But we don’t need to be mystics to know that words can heal or hurt, inspire or deflate, create or destroy, caress or sting…

    We all have our own word-hoard, and it our choice whether to open the mind, will and heart you speak of Lolly– to use our language creatively, as painters, sculptors, or conductors–or to wield our words like swords.

    Thank you and have a great day, Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      30. Oct, 2013

      Panteli,

      You always amaze me. You always add so much value to my thoughts.

      I especially like…We all have our own word-hoard, and it our choice whether to open the mind, will and heart
      ….use our language creatively, as painters, sculptors, or conductors–or to wield our words like swords.

      Thank You SO MUCH!

      Reply to this comment
  4. LaRae Quy

    29. Oct, 2013

    LOVE this post…it emphasizes the importance of using our language skills to ask questions…I truly believe that questions open up our minds and hearts to think and feel at new levels.

    The way in which we speak to ourselves and others are both important…I know I’m much harder on myself than I am on others. I like to use the language of self-talk in positive and constructive ways.

    Have a great week.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      30. Oct, 2013

      You say…The way in which we speak to ourselves and others are both important

      So true and so important… What a great addition to the article! Thanks LaRae!

      Reply to this comment
  5. Martina

    29. Oct, 2013

    Excellent post Lolly. Yes, it is the language of our hearts that can help and heal individuals as well as organizations.

    An additional point, as LeRae has pointed out, is to use the best and most positive language we can find to speak to ourselves. When we can do this, we stand a better chance of communicating with others in a positive, helpful and compassionate manner.

    Martina

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      30. Oct, 2013

      Martina!!!!!!!

      …..it is the language of our hearts that can help and heal individuals as well as organizations.

      The smallest of words can speak to your heart, mind and will.

      Appreciate you SO MUCH!

      See you tonight on #leadfromwithin

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  6. Ayaz Khaskheli

    29. Oct, 2013

    Well Said Lolly, Nice, deep and high in approch.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Terri Klass

    29. Oct, 2013

    The language of great leaders is deliberate and respectful.

    When we turn to our hearts to help us choose the right words for our message we are bound to be heard.

    When we are sincere and kind in choosing the right words, others will feel our compassion.

    I think your post is extraordinary, Lolly, as it beautifully reminds us that our words count and we need to be aware of how we come across.

    We can choose to communicate with love.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      30. Oct, 2013

      LOVE THIS TERRI!

      we can choose to communicate with love < That is the essence of language!

      In creating and exchanging meaning, good leaders translate ambiguity into clear messages that convey the rationale for change and
      enroll others in a compelling strategy that fosters alignment and commitment.

      Thanks SO MUCH for adding your wisdom.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  8. Dan Leyes

    29. Oct, 2013

    Always love to see people using Aristotle’s “three available means of persuasion” in creative ways. Very neat post Lolly! We need to think much more about language than most actually do. How we choose to express an idea can change everything.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      30. Oct, 2013

      True Dan how we express an idea or use our language can change everything. Because language influences our
      thinking and emotions, it is most powerful and effective for tackling challenges that rely heavily on
      conceptual, innovative solutions as opposed to those problems whose solutions are simple and technical in
      nature.

      Reply to this comment
  9. Karen Jolly

    29. Oct, 2013

    I love this post Lolly. To communicate with open mind, open will and open heart creates an opportunity for connecting in ways we can’t imagine. It means we are willing to surrender to the moment, allowing greater thought and mind to flow through…and that’s magical.

    Your words spoke to my heart. Thank you!

    Reply to this comment
  10. Karin Hurt

    30. Oct, 2013

    Even the small words matter. Chose wisely.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Margaux

    30. Oct, 2013

    Thanks for bringing up a different concept of leadership. Truly, the language of leadership is deeply etched on the leader’s openness to educate & motivate his team. Language comprises even unspoken words like gestures that empowers his team to succeed. There are great tools that he can use to empower his team and let them share their ideas and insights. It is from empowering his people that he can truly master the language of leadership.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Greg Marcus

    30. Oct, 2013

    Great post Lolly. It reminds me why a believe so strongly in a liberal arts education! There is so much wisdom, and training how to see the world to be learned from the ancients.

    The Talmud teaches that speech is more deadly than a knife because it can kill at a distance. Leaders can hurt or help with their language far more than they realize.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Michael Young

    01. Nov, 2013

    This was a extremely informative and challenging read. Leadership Consultant Dr. Sam Chand believes that “Culture-not vision/strategy- is the most powerful factor in an organization.” Business authors Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” agrees and devotes an entire chapter exploring a “Culture of Discipline” within great companies.

    I think the great challenge for leaders is learning how to tap into the power of language in such a way that others are inspired to follow. This blog post is a great place to start. As leaders we discipline ourselves to built a culture that equally values logo, ethos and pathos if we are create a strong and virbrant organizational culture.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Guillermo Camargo R

    30. Oct, 2014

    A great lesson your knowledge and how words work when accompanied by example and good feelings

    Reply to this comment

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