Leadership styles vary from person to person and from situation to situation. One moment might require a heavy hand and the next a light touch. Shifting back and forth between styles takes practice and experience and it often does not come naturally to people. Over time, people figure out what works for them and then use that to their advantage.
I'm comfortable speaking in front of large groups and I actually do it better on an impromptu basis. However, I'm at my best when I'm working with a small group because I feel that I can make a connection to the people with whom I'm speaking. This is important to me because as I'm reading the audience and making subtle adjustments to my thoughts, speech patterns, and words on the fly in order to break through and create a connection with someone. If I need to have a follow up discussion with someone in that group, then I'll work to have a one-on-one conversation with them.
This approach has worked well for me because it has evolved over time and I have figured out how to be effective in a variety of settings and situations. Yes, I've read a lot of books and articles on speaking and leadership, but you can't substitute actual experience.
So, when people ask me about learning to be more creative and learning to speak in front of others, I tell them to get involved with something. Find a volunteer opportunity where you think you can make a difference and get involved. Lead a lunch-and-learn program. Develop a proposal for your organization. Step forward and get involved.
In learning to make something out of nothing, you will be forced to figure out on your own how to build an organization--which involves creating a vision, communicating it to others, and developing the path to get there. Dorie Clark's book Standing Out is a great resource to use you if you aren't sure where to start.
Why is stepping forward and getting involved important?
Because what leaders need most are options. They need ideas that will help them get to what's next and you coming forward to offer thoughts may just help them get there.
Want to take it a step further?
They need actionable solutions. When you can provide that, then you may just find yourself leading a project, program, or company of your own.