The Voices of Leadership
Leaders must develop an inner wise mentor voice that guides them with compassion, steadiness and wisdom.
WRITTEN BY: ADAM DANYAL
We each have many voices in our heads. There’s the critic bringing us down, the cheerleader picking us up, the rebel egging us on. But for leaders, one voice matters most: the wise mentor. This is the voice leaders must encourage.
Like a trusted advisor, your inner mentor guides you with patience and care. It doesn’t shut you down like the critic or pump you up like the cheerleader. The mentor speaks calmly, reminding you of your principles.
When facing a hard choice, like letting someone go, the mentor says, “Treat them how you’d want to be treated.” Before speaking in anger, it whispers, “This too shall pass.” When you’re overwhelmed, it reminds you, “Take a deep breath. Just focus on today.”
We all need this voice. But as leaders, it’s essential. Your team needs you to embody wisdom, compassion and strength. They need someone steady and grounded to follow.
So how do you strengthen your inner mentor? Start by listening more closely. When emotions run high, pause. Give that voice space to emerge. Resist the critic’s snap judgments or the cheerleader’s blind optimism. Let the mentor speak.
Also, expose yourself to actual wise mentors. Read memoirs of admired leaders. Study those who inspire you. Their voices will gradually merge with your inner one.
Finally, practice self-mentoring daily. Imagine advising your best self. What would you say? Write it down. Over time, those written words will become the mentor’s voice inside your head.
With care and patience, anyone can cultivate this voice. But for leaders, it’s not just beneficial. It’s essential. Your team needs a leader who blends compassion and wisdom. Who calms turbulent waters. Who embodies their best self.
So take time to nurture your inner mentor. Its voice will guide you through the challenges ahead. And its spirit will inspire your team for years to come.
From our Leadership Bookshelf:
WRITTEN BY: JULIA DANYAL
In their book "Mastering Leadership", William A. Adams and Robert J. Anderson highlight the importance of nurturing an inner 'wise mentor' voice. In the midst of decision-making, it's easy to get caught up in the many voices in our heads - the critic, the cheerleader, the rebel. But as leaders, this inner mentor voice matters most.
Listen to your inner mentor - Leaders need to develop an inner 'wise mentor' voice that guides them calmly and compassionately, not the loud critic or blind optimist. Give this inner mentor space to emerge by pausing when emotions run high.
Learn from wise mentors - Study inspiring leaders and memoirs to merge their voices with your inner one. Their wisdom and experience will strengthen your inner mentor.
Practice self-mentoring daily - Imagine advising your best self and write it down as a way to develop your inner mentor's voice. The act of self-mentoring builds the calm, compassionate leader your team needs.
Lead by embodying wisdom - A leader's team needs them to blend compassion and wisdom. An inner mentor helps leaders become steady and grounded rather than reactive. Encouraging this voice is essential.