PrintWay more often than not, the individuals I most want to hear from — those whose thoughts and opinions influence me the most — are doing less talking than everyone around them.

Those from whom I have learned the most almost always teach more by way of what they do than what they say.

The most effective leaders I know have mastered the art of listening. Yetthey seem to know precisely when to speak.

Indeed, those who inspire important and consequential change are rarely the loud ones . . . seldom those demanding to own the stage, and using up all the oxygen in the room.

And those to whom almost all of us listen most intently possess a unique charisma that manifests itself in a resonant and authentic voice.

The Link Between Listening and Authenticity

It is not terribly difficult to find individuals skilled at managing process, directing activity or navigating crisis. Individuals with a point-of-view and a megaphone are a dime-a-dozen.

But when it comes to extending trust and awarding loyalty, tribes, organizations and communities value authenticity above almost everything.

And authenticity — the empathy that makes it possible to connect at a level that rings true — is born in the quiet hours of intentional listening.

In the short term, maybe even for a season, the loudest voice can capture attention and own a room.

But when stalemate is the order of the day . . . where leadership seems lacking . . . perhaps what is missing is an authentic voice.

Leaders who engender trust and inspire loyalty — those for whom we would walk across burning coals — these are the few who consistently speak at the right time, with a voice that resonates.