Anamcgary's Blog

Leadership thoughts from PeopleFirst HR

Speak Up and Take Action


In your leadership role have you ever witnessed a project or some other venture fail and thought “I knew this would happen”.  BUT, when the time came to speak up and give your opinion you shut down.  This was either because someone was adamant that this was right and it would work, or your manager was in the room and agreed or you simply didn’t want to make waves.  Well, as a leader taking action and communicating your ideas, thoughts and critique isn’t an option, it’s your responsibility.  Good leadership involves responsibility for the welfare of the organization or group.  Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity; you’ll avoid the tough decisions, you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted, and you’ll avoid offering differential rewards based on differential performance because some people might get upset.  Ironically, by procrastinating on the difficult choices, by trying not to get anyone mad, and by treating everyone equally “nicely” regardless of their contributions simply ensure that the only people you wind up angering are the most creative and productive people in the organization.  It’s inevitable, if you’re principled, some people will get angry at some decisions you make or direction you take.

Too often, change is stifled by people who cling to familiar turfs and job descriptions.  One reason that even large organizations decline is that managers won’t challenge old, comfortable ways of doing things.  Real leaders understand that our jobs change daily as our business and customer needs change. The proper response is to change our activities to meet those changes before someone else does.  Effective leaders create a climate where people’s worth is determined by their willingness to learn new skills and grab new responsibilities, thus perpetually reinventing their jobs.

2 thoughts on “Speak Up and Take Action

  1. I had not looked at it this way. Many times i have kept silent when i was supposed to speak up. As a result the team failed or bad decisions were made. I also completely agree that managers who cling to familiar turfs, job descriptions and dodge accountability and responsibility are the reason why so many projects fail.

    Do you have any suggestions of how leaders can bring up these challenging questions without provoking others or poking the proverbial bear?

    • I have poked many a proverbial bear, so I will say it can be difficult. I find asking very pointed questions about a decision can ease the jab. Sometimes by having to think about the answer a detailed question can change a decision and best of all, it’s the bear’s decision☺.

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