Speak up! Wait. Why are you talking?
If you hail from the corner office, you’re used to being heard.
If you are king of the OR, assistants jump at your command. If you hang out behind a pulpit or professorial podium—you know some at least pretend to tune in. But not everyone has a built-in audience. Not everyone is heard.
Those accustomed to being heard can have a hard time believing some cannot be heard. Why don’t just they just speak up if they have something to say? (Do they even have something to say?) In the same way Wall Street favors insiders over run-of-the-mill investors, every organization favors and rewards certain voices over others. These are the go-to voices in catastrophe or when a pep talk is needed. But these people sometimes assume everyone has a voice—because people listen to their voice—so, true for everyone.
But how many C-Suiters really want to hear? And how many behind the pulpit or podium really want to dialogue? Because—after all—casting vision is all about one-way messaging. Dialogue takes too long, is messy, confuses people with extraneous stuff and swerves off (my) topic.
What would leadership look like if listening were involved? Certainly there are times when monologue and one-way messaging are appropriate. But not all the time. What if the real strength of leadership was hidden in the will and unvoiced thoughts of the department/team/congregation/classroom? What if all sorts of unity was bubbling deep under the surface waiting to spring out much bigger and much better than anything the C-Suite player could ever imagine? It would be messy at first. But maybe something lasting would happen.
Image Credit: thaeger