Do You Have a “Typical” Leadership Voice?

The human voice is the most beautiful instrument of all, but it is the most difficult to play

~Richard Strauss

Your leadership voice makes a significant contribution to your leadership impact. Many people like to think that they have a naturally “polychrome” voice and that they adapt their volume, rhythm, speed, pitch and intonation to the situation.

However, many people are more “monochrome” than they would like to think

Some of us have a dominantly “Red” voice; all about urgency, with a fast tempo, a pressing rhythm, and a vocabulary of “action” words – deadline, milestone, deliverables, now, urgent, results ……The Red voice is the “Captain of a sinking ship”; focussed, determined and concerned – not to be confused with the “Drill sergeant”, shouting, bullying, and ordering

Typical phrases could be:

“It’s clearly the time to act”, “I urge you to …” or “We mustn’t miss this opportunity”

Some of us have a dominantly Yellowvoice; all about inclusion and participation, with a varying tone, short pauses, and a vocabulary of “inclusive” words – us, together, cooperation, we, everyone, collectively …… The Yellow voice is the “Talk show host”; welcoming, and convivial while maintaining a certain distance – not to be confused with the “Clown”, shrill, piercing, and over-excited.

Typical phrases could be:

“Collectively we will succeed”, “Our challenge is to …” or “We are all in this together”

Some of us have a dominantly “Green” voice; all about understanding and empathy, with a low volume, slow speed, and a vocabulary of “supportive” words – help, support, share, feel, understand, care …… The Green voice is the “Therapist”; listening and supportive without feeling sorry for the person – not to be confused with the “Passive”, hesitating, docile and insecure.

Typical phrases could be:

“I am there with you”, “I understand how you feel …” or “How can I help?”

Some of us have a dominantly “Blue” voice; all about authority and knowledge, with a low and conclusive tone, medium pace, and a vocabulary of “authority” words – facts, studies, analysis, research, theory, calculations …… The Blue voice is the “Teacher”; clear and concise without being dismissive – not to be confused with the “Robot”, cold, monotonous, and devoid of humanity.

Typical phrases could be:

“Numerous studies have shown”, “Having compared my findings with …” or “The analysis takes into account …

Clearly, very few people are completely monochrome; however, we all have a voice we are comfortable with (our dominant voice). Some people are uncomfortable with phrases such as, “I feel your pain”, others with, “This is awesome”, others with, “Facts clearly show” and others with, “We have discussed enough, now we have to decide”

If the ability to use the full spectrum is important when operating face-to-face with others; it becomes paramount when working screen-to-screen – when the body language, gestures, eye contact, etc. that would normally support what you are saying are less perceptible.

Be a voice, not an echo.

~Albert Einstein


Bob Larcher
Bob Larcher
Bob Larcher is an independent leadership development consultant; he has been designing & delivering personal, team & leadership development programs for almost 35 years, both in English and in French and his clients include Blue Chip corporate giants, Charities, Start-ups, and the Public Sector. Bob is also a visiting lecturer at several French Business Schools. Since his first leadership seminar in 1986, Bob has designed and delivered in excess of 3000 days of training & coaching. His background is in Outdoor Management Development and he was previously a shareholder of a major player in the UK market; he is an Accredited Practitioner of the UK Institute of Outdoor Learning and a member of the panel reviewing articles for their journal, “Horizons”. He is based in Toulouse in France but works all over Europe. Bob is an accredited Insights Discovery Personal Profile user, an accredited Integrated Leadership Measure user and a Master Trainer in Mental Toughness. He also designs customized 360° leadership & management evaluations Bob is passionate about helping people to discover, develop and deploy their leadership capacity in order to enable them to drive the personal, organizational and societal transformations they are involved in.

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  1. Thank you for reminding us of this very interesting human aspect.
    The voice is used to tell, welcome, describe, involve, communicate… It is part of us, of our nature as human beings: we learn to use it from very young and, truly special, it distinguishes us from anyone else. In fact, no two voices are the same all over the world. And it has its own decisive and irreplaceable role in communication.
    Precisely because of all these elements, our nervous system knows how to interpret the voices of those it meets, managing to draw, from the words of others, much more information than what is actually spoken.
    The tone and rhythm with which a sentence is pronounced can have different shades of colors: and each has an intention and a sphere of emotions that accompanies it. The color of the voice, in fact, is essentially the intention with which one is speaking. It can tell joy, criticism, doubt, reasoning … and show an atmosphere.
    Modulating, enriching and deliberately and consciously modifying one’s voice makes it a very sharp and very powerful tool because it gives it the energy to overcome conscious barriers and sneak directly into people’s brains and perception.
    Using the voice consciously is a way to enrich the perception of the moment, improve one’s interaction, differentiate the ways of approaching people by increasing the range of contact and increasing the possibility of grasping their attention and preferences.

  2. My last post on BIZCATALYST 360° discussed in part mixed senses. I wish I had then readt his post because it offers a great example of what I meant.

    Bob Larcher- you are a creative writer, Loved how you mixed colors with voices to categorize them. Red voice, green voice and blue voice. The designation of colors was carefully done to express what it means. I enjoyed reading your post.

    Thank you my friend Dennis Pitocco for sharing this post with its lovely and musical tone.