Watch Your Tone!

I’ve noticed something prevalent lately among several confident leaders I know – how they use their tone.

Or more specifically, how they use their tone when they’re stressed or frustrated or just downright angry. Recently a teammate of mine persuaded me to listen to a couple of voicemails I had left on her phone. I was blown away at the difference in my tone based on subject at hand.

Whether we like it or not, more weight is placed in how we say things than in what we say. I’m picking on confident leaders specifically here because the more confident we are in ourselves and our stance then the more difficult we find it to control our tone.

How else do we reveal our true emotions even when we say we are “fine?”

  • Cadence of our normal delivery – When a teammate of mine gets irritated, she talks fast and loud. Take a deep breath, gather yourself, and continue to calmly share your thoughts.
  • Facial expressions – Pursed lips, the subtle eye roll, the head cocked to one side…Odds are you know when you’re revealing your annoyance, even if you don’t intend to. If you honestly can’t tell how you’re coming across, ask a teammate to give you a subtle signal or privately clue you in, when necessary.
  • Attention – It can be as vague as daydreaming or as blunt as scrolling through your phone when a colleague is speaking. Your lack of attention speaks volumes about your attitude. This is an easy one. Even when we are having trouble hiding how we feel, we can force ourselves to pay attention; take notes, ask questions, or do whatever is necessary to remain engaged.

If you follow this blog, you know my feelings on masking it. And sometimes that’s exactly what we must do as mature leaders to get through the moment until we can truly address the issue.

I am realizing that my own tone can be a blind spot, and since I listened to my own voicemails, I’m now working to be more intentional of the tone I use.

How are you using your tone?

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