Leadership Presence and the Courage to Speak

3 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017

See all articles by Elizabeth A. Powell

Elizabeth A. Powell

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

This note applies the concept of "leadership presence" as established by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar to the concerns of business leaders.

Excerpt

UVA-BC-0242

Feb. 27, 2012

Leadership Presence and the Courage to Speak

In the Oscar-winning film, The King's Speech, the speech coach, played by Geoffrey Rush, prods with the question, “Why should I waste my time listening to you?” In a breakthrough moment, Colin Firth as King George VI exclaims, “Because I have a voice!” To which the coach knowingly replies, “Why, yes, you do.”

King George VI must speak for his nation in a time of war, but he also speaks for us in the audience when he taps into his presence as a leader and summons up what I call “rhetorical courage.” You don't have to be a king or struggle with a speech impediment to identify with the debilitating fear of being caught searching for words. But as I have found in my 20 years of working with managers and leaders, underneath that anxiety and frustration lies a powerful and authentic voice waiting to emerge.

What is the key to projecting your presence and leading with rhetorical courage? The answer lies in a simple but profound idea: Speaking your mind, from the heart, even when your voice shakes.

. . .

Keywords: rhetoric, courage

Suggested Citation

Powell, Elizabeth A., Leadership Presence and the Courage to Speak. Darden Case No. UVA-BC-0242. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2973902

Elizabeth A. Powell (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-982-2730 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.edu/faculty/Powell.htm

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