I think it’s safe to say that most of us have found ourselves in this predicament. Clamming up when we know we should speak up. Maybe it’s an awkward situation. Maybe there is a lot at stake. Maybe it’s just easier not to say anything. Whether it’s in our living room or in the boardroom, your voice needs to be heard. Change for the better will require us all to speak up when our gut and our heart tell us to do so.
Easier said than done, right?
Yep, and we’re not alone.
A recent survey done by LeanIn and SurveyMonkey polled approximately 7,400 women and men in the workplace. While 80% of those polled considered themselves allies, less than half of the women, most notably women of color, say they have strong allies in the workplace.
Also, consider that it can be extremely difficult to ‘influence up’. In other words, share your perspective to senior leadership especially when there is a lot at stake.
However we feel silenced by others or choose to stay silent ourselves, it can affect our impact and our health. This same study states that ‘Silence enacts a clear toll on us that can contribute towards burnout as keeping our concerns to ourselves harms our wellbeing.’
Whether it’s for a marginalized group or influencing your leadership, there are some simple (I didn’t say easy:) steps to take, so that you and other heart-centered leader’s voices are heard, valued, and respected.
If we can ALL learn to speak up more when we know we should, we’ll be better equipped to:
1.) Empower leadership to do the right thing
2.) Reduce your and your colleague’s emotional tax and the probability of burnout
3.) Increase productivity and profitability by empowering others
This topic is more appropriate for longer form workshops or coaching. But I’ve received so many emails and messages, I’d like to get you started here.
First, focus on awareness.
Learn to listen to your gut and your heart. Based on Gavin de Becker’s book, Gift of Fear, we take in more information that we can cognitively process. Many times, we have a gut instinct, but we tell ourselves a story or pass it off as nothing important. Be more aware of your gut to get clear on when you should speak up for issues big or small. This will assist with being congruent with our highest sense of integrity.
Next, make peace with any fear, doubt, worry etc that you have.
These are universal emotions, even for the highest performers in the world. So, they are 100% normal. The difference is that world-class performers know how to use these emotions to their benefit and to proceed anyway in a calm and effective way. It’s a choice, but it takes practice. You can start by noticing your emotion, and in a neutral tone and then choosing your next best course of action. For example, ‘I notice I’m scared to call out a micro-aggression/challenge my CEO on his/her request…, but I choose to take action by doing..../’
Finally, hone in on acknowledging others, even those who you strongly disagree with.
The reason being is that it’s a human drive to feel acknowledged and validated. Before we can fully be heard and influence others to act, they must feel acknowledged and validated first. This isn’t for them. It’s the necessary groundwork for helping others come up to your point of view. Skip this part, and it can be like asking someone to marry you after the first date. Awkward and ineffective.
If I can ever answer any questions on this very important topic or any of my other content, please email me directly at email@example.com .
Cheering you on always,