I have written about this topic in previous posts— “Finding Your Voice” (May 2014), “Exercising Your Voice” (October 2016), and “Finding Your Narrative” (May 2017)—but wanted to revisit this topic considering recent events.  Having just read an article in the Harvard Review which talks about developing your leadership voice, I was reminded that it remains essential for us to help our girls understand how, when, and why they need to develop their sense of self, comfortably expressing their viewpoints, while still holding true to their core values. SMS, in partnership with our students’ homes, provides that safe place for the girls to hone these skills and to also practise their listening and questioning skills.

Developing your voice requires confidence, but using your voice wisely often requires courage.  As stated in this article from the Harvard Review, we need to help our girls understand the various layers of voice:

  • Voice of character—being able to define who you are and what you stand for.
  • Voice of context—being aware of your own biases and “limited” experiences.
  • Voice of clarity—being clear about what you want, the goals you want to achieve, and your expectations of others.
  • Voice of curiosity—being open to other perspectives, asking good questions, and demonstrating interest in other people’s opinions or experiences.
  • Voice of connectivity—showing genuine concern through your words and using your network of support to influence others.

In addition, developing a supportive voice, a voice of agency/advocacy, and, finally, an authentic voice, will empower our girls to proudly say “yes” when they mean “yes” and to adamantly say “no” when they mean “no.” Because they are being taught to use their voices wisely, our students also learn that they have the right to be heard and respected when they speak with wisdom. The ability to develop your inner voice while also being mindful about the way you exercise your outer voice brings credibility and conviction to your words. Our Vision—Confident Girls. Inspiring Women—makes it imperative for us to empower our girls today, helping them share what’s on their minds, so that they will have the courage to use their voices confidently in the future.

There is nothing you can do to make people believe and trust in you unless you:

Say only what you mean,

Do exactly what you say you are going to do,

Stand up for what you know is right,

Fix what you know is wrong,

Admit when you made a mistake,

And finally,

Forgive others when they make their own.

Jason Korman