Aug 18 2015
An actor is required to get up on stage and do their part whether they feel like it or not. Leaders need to do that too. However, very capable leaders may resign themselves to sitting back and letting someone else speak up or show up because that leader can’t seem to get a word in edgewise. Usually that is because the loudest voice wins. What to do if you are quiet by nature? Some suggest that we need to be more accepting of diverse ways of communicating, but while we are all becoming more tolerant, some of you will be left behind. The answer is to plan to take leadership moments.
The book called The Leadership Moment tells the stories of nine leaders who made life-changing decisions at auspicious moments in their careers. However, leadership moments can be everyday moments– opportunities to take responsibility when others don’t. This action helps communicate the perception of leadership beyond business acumen, which is sneaky but effective. The caveat is that quiet people may have to be well-prepared rather than rely on instinct, to jump in. If you are one of those people, here are a few suggestions, that you may not have thought of, to take a leadership moment:
- In meetings, come prepared with a well-thought-out perspective on a topic you know will be discussed, and look for a time to add your 2 cents. When it arises, stand up and speak, even if the others speak while sitting down.
- Always have an opening and a close for your talks. Use this to inspire, motivate, challenge or inform, but use it to promote your personal brand/perspective and ideas.
- Most meetings just fade away. Don’t let that happen. Be the one to sum up the action items by keeping track of them and confirming agreement to them at the end of the meeting.
For more on this topic, please see my post, 5 Steps to Greater Influence in Meetings.
Here’s an interesting online resource on leadership, posted by the Leadership Center at Ohio State University.