That makes logical sense, but it’s not always true. I’ve been considered a leader for a long time now, and I quite often question my own voice. I wonder if my words are leading anybody. I wonder if my ideas have anywhere near the impact that I desire.
If you ever feel that way, I assure you that your voice is more important than you realize. Let me share a powerful example of the power of a leader’s voice.
I attend a pretty rockin’ church. It’s actually called Rock City, although I think that’s more of a reference to Jesus than the worship service music. That said, the music is loud, contemporary, and very sing-a-long worthy. Oh, and every one of the vocalists who lead the sing-a-long every week could probably win American Idol. Even though the music is loud, it’s not so loud you can’t hear the audience singing. In fact, that’s one of my favorite things about any church service. I love the vibrational harmony of hundreds of people singing together.
When The Leader Stops Singing…
Once in awhile, the person leading the singing will stop singing. Sometimes it’s because of a dry throat or an unexpected cough. Other times the leader will point the microphone at the audience indicating she/he wants the audience to carry the tune for a bit.
Here’s the problem: every single time the leader stops singing — no matter what the reason — most of the audience also stops singing. When the leader is singing, the audience members have WAY more confidence in their own singing. The moment the leader stops, the volume of the audience’s singing cuts in half. As soon as the leader resumes, the audience turns the volume back up to eleven.
The music never stops, mind you, just the leader. The band plays on, but the crowd doesn’t. Not without the leader.
Just Keep Singing…
Watching this happen at Church has made me rethink just how important my own voice is wherever I am the leader. I don’t have to be the best singer or have the best ideas or be the smartest person in the room in order to be the leader. I just have to be willing to get things started and then sing along with everyone else, loud enough for them to follow, but not so loud that mine is the only voice that can be heard.
I also can’t disappear for very long if I want people to keep singing with me. People crave leadership. They love following someone who can create harmony in a crowd. They love following a good example. They love following someone who is confident enough to keep singing, even if I do temporarily lose my voice once in awhile.
Your voice/message/work/leadership inspires people. It gives them comfort and confidence. It makes them want to join in. It is more important than you likely realize. Remember that the next time you’re tempted to stop singing (and by singing, I mean leading. You know that, right?).