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Posted by Wayne Voltz

Research shows that 90% of what we communicate to others is non-verbal.  60% is our body language.  Tone of voice makes up another 30%.  Speaking loudly does not mean you will be heard. In fact, speaking loudly often makes it harder for people to understand what it is you are saying. Aggressive speech and harsh tones may also elicit a variety of unintended emotions from people, especially from those at which the message is directed–feelings of anxiety and suspicion to fear and resentment. When intense emotions come into play, that manager is no longer able to do what is expected of them–and that is to manage a company with a calm, powerful sense of self-confidence, compassion and business acumen.

Training the Ego To Speak Without Shouting

Some managers are under the impression that they need to speak above others to be heard or to emphasize their presence when entering a room or conducting a meeting. Managers possessing the necessary skills, experience and intelligence to have been put in a position of leadership should not lack faith in their ability to be heard above the noise of conflict without shouting.

Understanding how and why the ego behaves the way it does can help managers learn to lead without shouting. Sigmund Freud conceived the concept of the ego when he formulated his psychoanalytic theory of human development almost a century ago. Although Freud considered the ego to be a sort of rational mediator between our childish, selfish impulses (the “id”) and our overly rigid, ritualistic “superego”, the notion of the ego today involves how much self-esteem, self-pride and self-admiration a person has. As with everything in the world, too much of something is usually not a good thing–especially a manager’s ego.

Check Your Baggage at the Door

To be an effective and trusted company leader, you often have to check your ego at the door and realize that excellent leadership draws its strength from other people, not from the leader themself. Although one may think they can lead by being “bigger than life”, the truth is you cannot be a good leader without respecting the egos and needs of other people. Empathy plays a huge role in being an effective manager, although the ego often resists being demoted from first place to last in line.

“Passionate Leaders aren’t Loud–They’re Deep”

This great quote by Erika Anderson writing for Forbes reiterates the validity of leading quietly but passionately while refusing to let that pesky ego insist on shouting at everyone in a vain attempt to come across as a “strong ” manager. The best way to earn the respect and loyalty of another is to make them feel meaningful. The search for meaning in life is one of our many innate drives that compels us to seek out relationships with others.

Whether that relationship is a business, social or intimate relationship doesn’t matter. What matters is that peers and subordinates feel a deep satisfaction in realizing that someone else sincerely respects their abilities, their talents and their thoughts. This is what Anderson means when she describes passionate leaders as deep–not loud.