Embracing Authentic Leadership: A Conversation with Laurie Smith
In a recent episode of “Leadership Powered by Common Sense,” I had the pleasure of hosting Lauri Smith, a renowned expert on public speaking and presence. Our conversation revolved around the importance of authentic leadership, vulnerability, and effective communication of vision. Here’s a recap of our insightful discussion.
Lauri Smith: A Journey from Theater to Leadership Training
Lauri Smith’s journey is a fascinating one. From her early experiences in acting and theater, she discovered the power of presence and the importance of allowing oneself to be seen. This realization led her to merge her passion for theater with leadership training and coaching. Today, she works with visionaries who are driving change, helping them harness their presence to connect with others more effectively.
The Shift in Modern Leadership Theory
During our conversation, we delved into the shift in modern leadership theory. The command and control mindset that once dominated is becoming outdated. Today’s leaders are focusing more on collaboration and teamwork. However, this doesn’t mean leaders should shy away from making decisive decisions. Leaders still need to provide direction to their teams, but the approach has changed.
Lauri echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the difference between making a decisive decision and practicing command and control. She believes that even in moments of decision-making, leaders can inspire and collaborate with their teams, rather than oppress them. We both agreed on the importance of rallying the workforce around the vision and getting them to actively participate in achieving the goals.
Overcoming Challenges in Public Speaking
Public speaking can be daunting, especially when addressing larger groups. Lauri suggested focusing on the intention of creating a certain feeling in the room, rather than getting caught up in nerves or self-doubt. She explained that the sensation of speaking to a large audience is normal and that many great speakers have learned to embrace and use that sensation instead of fighting against it.
Lauri also stressed the importance of setting an intention for what you want to create in the room, rather than worrying about how others perceive you. This shift in mindset, she explained, is like seeing a red VW bug on the freeway after desiring one.
The Power of Vision
As a leader, having a clear vision for your team or organization is crucial. I encouraged leaders to take ownership of their part in the bigger picture and not wait for direction from above. With a clear vision, leaders can better navigate group meetings and presentations.
Lauri compared the invitation to step up and lead to the first grip a mountain climber finds on their ascent. She emphasized that leaders should not try to imitate others but instead, own their unique presence and charisma.
The Difference Between Influence and Inspiration
Our conversation also touched on the difference between influence and inspiration. I expressed my preference for inspiring others to think bigger and do more, a sentiment that Laurie agreed with.
Preparing to Speak: The Final Ten Minutes
Finally, Lauri shared some practical advice for those preparing to speak. She recommended creating a warm-up ritual, similar to professional athletes and stage actors. Her framework of “intend, align, and invite” emphasizes the importance of aligning the body, breath, and energy with one’s most alive and expressive self.
In conclusion, our conversation with Lauri Smith was a deep dive into the world of authentic leadership and effective communication. It’s clear that the future of leadership lies in authenticity, vulnerability, and a clear vision. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to embrace these values and lead our teams towards success.
Lauri Smith is a speaker, an intuitive public speaking and leadership coach, and the author of Your Voice Matters: A Guide to Speaking Soulfully When It Counts.. She helps sensitive visionaries, ambitious empaths, and loving rebels to stand in their power, speak their truth and Lead so they can do their part to change the world with authenticity, creativity and courage.
Links to Lauri’s websites:
Speakers Studio: https://voice-matters.com/speakers-studio/
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/born2actsmith
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/voicemattersllc/
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