(Image Courtesy of Autoblog.com)
When working with a fairly large team of leaders one dominant trait was clear. This team drove hard for results, and wanted to accomplish numerous projects and tasks. The intensity manifested itself during their meetings. In between numerous cross-conversations and interruptions, ideas were discussed, challenged, and hashed out.
If you had an idea, you had to defend it.
If you had a suggestion, you had to sell it.
If you had an objection, you had to voice it.
But, there were other members of this team. Team members who did not share the same dominant drive. In meetings, these team members remained silent. They had no voice at the table.
One of the “silent ones” pulled me aside after the session. We talked about finding their voice amongst the team and the challenges associated with speaking up.
“Your voice is important on this team, and you need to find ways to speak up, especially if you have concerns.”
“That is great for you to say, but I think this team just views me as a speed bump on their road to progress.”
After a few moments of stunned silence, a plan developed. We agreed that during the next meeting, this “silent one” would find their voice, stand up, and speak (shout) out the following statement:
“Speed bumps save lives!”
And they did.
After the initial disruption, a brief explanation, and a few laughs, the dominant team members stopped and listened. The “silent one” found their voice, and offered their insight into the project.
Months later, the team dynamic has shifted. More members have found their voices, and the dominant ones are learning to slow down, listen, and even occasionally ask:
“Are there any speed bumps we should know about?”
Finding your voice, in your organization, meeting, or workplace may require a bold step, but being heard is well worth the effort.