Like you, my conversations sometimes get away from me. I wish I could have a do-over and tell another person what I truly wanted to express. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or we don’t want to create conflict, so we just rattle off some words that end a conversation calmly. No big deal- right? It is a big deal because when we aren’t being truthful in our feedback or in speaking up with our opinions and ideas, we aren’t presenting our full self. We are hiding behind a thick shell unwilling to communicate our honest message.
What are the consequences of not being honest in our conversations? What is the impact on us as well as on the other individuals we are connecting with when we don’t communicate authentically?
MESSAGES ARE MISUNDERSTOOD
Have you ever tried to tell someone an incomplete story or shared only part of the big picture strategy? Have you ever avoided giving honest feedback and the recipient left looking confused? When we are not open and direct but instead offer ambiguous exchanges of information, our messages are easily misinterpreted. That can cause frustration to both you and everyone else.
IDEAS ARE NOT HEARD
The next time you are in a meeting or a conference call with others, think about how important it is for you to share your thoughts and opinions. Sitting back and letting others offer suggestions and not inputting our own is not leading. When we don’t speak up and clearly share our perspective, we are depriving those around us of great thoughts and insights. Additionally, we feel valued when we can contribute to a project or conversation.
CONNECTIONS WITH OTHERS ARE DIMINISHED
To build strong relationships, we must share our ideas and stories so that others can understand who we are and what is important to us. Being a team member means not only listening to others with focus, but also responding to our colleagues about their suggestions. As we iron out differences in approaches or piggyback on ways to do things even better, we are cultivating deeper and more meaningful connections.
LEADERSHIP INFLUENCE IS COMPROMISED
Speaking up in a clear, respectful way enhances our leadership brand. When we share significant anecdotes or lessons we have learned, we help empower those around us to try new ways of doing things. If we don’t offer our words or thoughts we stunt our leadership impact and cheat our teams and colleagues of critical ideas that could lead to more outstanding outcomes.
How do you make sure that you say what you need to say? What obstacles have prevented you from speaking out?