What Are You Contributing to Your Leadership Table?

There’s no better season than spring to spend time grilling outdoors with friends and family. This past weekend was especially joyous as we entertained a number of our neighbors who head south as winter snow birds and recently migrated back home to Minnesota. Greater yet, each of them prepared a unique dish to contribute to our outdoor bbq!

Whether you call it potluck, bring and share, dish-to-pass, or dutch, the attraction of bringing people together where each contributes something uniquely special to be shared among the larger gathered group is always a treat. Leadership is similar — we each have a contribution to bring to a team or organization, without which the team, or table, feels incomplete.

How would you describe the contribution you bring to the table? 

Each of us has a uniquely significant leadership voice of influence that we convey to our families, our work places, and community. Do you know what your voice is? Do you appreciate the distinctiveness of Voice across your team? Most leaders undervalue the impact and worth of their voice or fall unconsciously unaware of its power all together. Leveraging your voice and the voices of those you lead is the key to a high performing team.


Over years of research and application, we have discovered that all of us have foundational leadership voices that richly influence what we contribute across our fields of influence.

The secure leader is one who is able to exercise discretion and discipline to ensure his or her leadership voice is not crowding, nor cowering when in the team environment. The extent to which we leverage our leadership voice really depends upon the audience we are serving and the nature of the exchange. Learning to build a strong level of self-awareness and the adaptability to effectively navigate the tendencies of these voices allows leaders access to heightened communication and team engagement.

Leadership Voice Assumptions

  1. We all have a primary leadership voice. This is what we sound/feel like to others. Your leadership voice is complex and unique to you.
  2. We have access to all 5 leadership voices. The key is that some are more natural to us than others.
  3. Our voice is made up of a complex mix of the other 5 voices. This mix is shaped by our nature, nurture, and leadership choices.
  4. We all have a foundational Voice from nature (personal wiring) that shapes how all of the voices are heard and experienced on the other side of us.
  5. Nurture (experience) and our leadership choices can override natural wiring. It is perfectly possible for leaders to lose their most natural foundational voice.
  6. Of the 5 voices, we usually have two that function as our natural way of communicating and two that must be matured over time.
  7. Experience allows us to value the contribution that each leadership voice brings to the table.

Below are the 5 leadership voices and the traits they contribute. Take a look at these descriptions and see what sounds most like you. For a more in-depth assessment, you can also take our quick survey at 5voices.com:

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The Nurturer

Nurturers are champions of people. They are always concerned about the relational health and harmony of the group.

  • Are you completely committed to protecting values and principles for the people you serve? Do you innately understand how certain actions, behaviors or initiatives will affect people. If so, this may be your foundational voice.
  • FACT: 43% of the world’s leaders hold Nurturer as their primary leadership voice.

The Creative

Creatives are champions of innovation. These are your “outside the box” thinkers. Creatives are the early warning radar system and are naturally skilled to see opportunities and dangers of the future before others.

  • Are you a leader rarely satisfied with the status quo? Do you become frustrated when others can’t fully understand your ideas and thoughts? If so, this may be your foundational voice.
  • FACT: 9% of the world’s leaders hold Creative as their primary leadership voice.

The Guardian

Guardians are champions of responsibility and stewardship. These are the leaders who strongly respect and value logic, order, procedure, and process. They seek clarity as well as logical and proven decision-making criteria even if they have to ask the tough questions to get there.

  • When looking at change, do you like to see established track records of success to justify doing things differently? Are you the person seen as “raining on the parade” of others when all you are simply asking for is the critical information missing from the dialogue? If so, this may be your foundational voice.
  • FACT: 30% of the world’s leaders hold Guardian as their primary leadership voice.

The Connector

Connectors champion relationships and strategic partnerships. These are the leaders who rally people to causes and things they believe in.

  • Do you thrive in a world where everyone collaborates around exciting future opportunities and have access to a broad network of colleagues who can help you make it happen? If so, this may be your foundational voice.
  • FACT: 11% of the world’s leaders hold Connector as their primary leadership voice.

The Pioneer

Pioneers are champions of change and ingenuity. These are the leaders who approach life with an “anything is possible” attitude and the competence to make it happen.

  • Are you driven to new futures and strive to find the most efficient and effective ways to win? Do you show up when courageous and difficult decisions need to be made? If so, this may be your foundational voice.
  • FACT: 7% of the world’s leaders hold Pioneer as their primary leadership voice.

Health Watch! All of us have been abused to some extent by a personality diagnostic. The human system is too complex to become boxed in or identified by any particular assessment of temperament.

Health Warning! Most diagnostic tools are purposed to measure self-awareness. This is an essential first step, however never enough for anything beyond self-recognition and regulation. For leaders who are intentional about accelerating healthy organizational culture, self-awareness must eventually be exchanged for a more simple and scalable social currency. The 5 Voices instrument is a game changer in the development market and a MUST to reliably equip teams with the language needed to effectively transform the collective culture of any organization. Without access to all 5 Voices, leaders unknowingly leave people stranded on base and teams ill equipped to move the collective culture forward.

Everyone speaks. Not everyone is heard.

What happens when people and teams don’t understand their natural Leadership Voice?

  • Meetings are less effective and efficient
  • Money, time and resources are wasted
  • Misaligned teams that are ineffective or unhealthy
  • Toxic work environment filled with drama and gossip
  • High risk of mismatched talent in the wrong role or position
  • Misunderstandings that divide instead of unite teams

What organizational benefits await those who firmly understand their primary Leadership Voice?

  1. Greater Self-Awareness – A solid understanding of what it’s like to be on the other side of your leadership.
  2. Better Alignment – Discovered sweet spots of those on your team allowing for enhanced team alignment and performance.
  3. Clear Communication – A model of Communication established to support and challenge without people taking it the wrong way and getting offended.
  4. Effective Delegation – A model that supports more effective delegation of tasks saving time and increasing productivity.
  5. High Performance – A model to equip high-performing teams, rather than taking random shots in the dark in the hopes employees and teams do their jobs well.
  6. Quicker Decisions – A model that strengthens collective listening and effective questioning techniques allowing for efficient team decision-making.

Want to go deeper? GiANT cofounders Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram just released a new book titled 5 Voices: How to Communicate Effectively with Everyone You Lead. You have a very important leadership voice. Discover it today! Take a free assessment and learn more at 5voices.com

5 Voices Book

Let us know how we might help identify and maximize the unique contributions you and your team bring to the table.


About the Author

Joseph is a Creative/Connector with zeal to significantly “Encourage, Equip, and Empower Those Who Lead.” Dr. Hill has a wealth of experience in organizational leadership, human development, and teaching as a practitioner, educational leader, executive coach, author, and blogger. Joseph holds a post-graduate degree in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Servant Leadership and is a Licensed Executive Coach through the International Coach Federation. Learn more about Dr. Hill at www.giantworldwide.com/dr-joseph-hill/ or follow him on Twitter @liveleadserve.