As I was doing research to update our management training program, Supporting Successful Leadership, there were a few things that I thought I wanted to share with the wider group of Mandt System® instructors. The first was the concept of leadership. We usually associate the word “leader” with a role in the organization such as an executive, managerial, or supervisory title. I’ve included 2 paragraphs from the Participant Workbook for the SSL course:

When we use the word “leadership” we are referring to the definition from Kevin Kruse, an author and leader in business. He said, in a 2013 Forbes article, that leadership was “a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.” Notice what he said – leaders maximize the efforts of others.

Leadership is a support role and an empowerment role. We work together towards a common goal and use social influence, in a positive, build up way, to empower and engage people to do their best. Any role can be a leadership role and all of us have the potential to become leaders, depending on the situation and our own willingness to lead. At the same time, we must also understand that “followship” is as important as leadership. We need to follow with respect and dignity, trusting that the people who lead have been equipped and empowered to do so.

In the Letter to Administrators that is in the Introduction to The Mandt System® in the Instructor Manual, we talk about “a relationship of equals, with a difference of role.” All of us can be and probably have been leaders at some point, because we have supported other people, maximizing their efforts, towards a common goal.”

One of the keys to being a successful leader is credibility, and that is the second thing I wanted to share from my research. I downloaded a file from that is a booklet on Communicating Credibility from The Speaker’s Choice™. This booklet goes through Mehrabian’s elements of communication, and focuses on some of the key ways in which we can convey credibility when we speak.

As I listen to new instructors and recertifying instructors do their presentations in our training, one of the most common comments from people as they listen is to get rid of the “umm’s”. These are fillers that we all use to give us a few seconds as we collect our thoughts to move on. Their recommendation is to use silence instead of any paralanguage sound. Silence, they say, makes us look thoughtful and professional, and gives people time to process what we have already said.

Most people in the United States say that speaking in public is their number one fear. Here is what Jerry Seinfeld says about public speaking:

According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.

Think about that the next time you have to speak in public!

Bob Bowen – SVP Program Development & International