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Why You Need to Speak Up!

My client Jason (not his real name) is a fantastic leader. He recently shared the report of his 360-assessment with me. While reading the section including anecdotal comments, we noticed a trend in the feedback.

In terms of his strengths, people perceive Jason as a thoughtful caring leader with excellent listening skills. He is both patient with others and a solid implementer who achieves significant results in his department.

With regard to a developmental area, the feedback was clear. Jason needs to speak up more! While it is advisable as a leader to employ active listening skills, there needs to be a balance between listening and contributing to the discussion.

I typically see two extremes observable in meetings:

  1. Some people over contribute and don’t let others speak
  2. Other people are too quiet and don’t share their great ideas

Neither of these behaviours is desirable. The goal is to be somewhere in the middle.

Are you in the middle? If not, I’d like you to be very conscious of behaviour in meetings and conversations moving forward.

When talking to Jason earlier this week, he laughed at me when I said, “Jason, here is a perspective that I would like to share with you. What if I said that you are being selfish by not sharing your brilliant ideas”.

He was taken aback by this comment.

“Selfish?” he retorted.

“Yes.” I said

Let me share with you my explanation to Jason. I told him that if you have great ideas you need to share them. If you have a viable solution to a program you need to share it. Likewise, if you have a strategic perspective that others don’t see, speak up and enlighten them.

If you don’t, are you being selfish by keeping your ideas, solutions or perspectives to yourself?

I say “yes”.

Speak up.

Contribute more.

Share your brilliance with others.

No one else thinks like you or has your specific knowledge or experience to share.

It’s your job as a leader to speak up.

And if you don’t share your brilliance, someone like me just might call you selfish!!!

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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