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Should I Speak Up At Work?

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shut_upWork can be a scary place.

Either you play it safe and bite your tongue when you want to speak up, or you speak without thinking things through first.

So the question is: should you even bother to speak up at work?

Yes (most of the time)

Speaking up can have its share of downsides, but I think the advantages far outweigh the risks.

By speaking up, I was able to be heard, be counted and be promoted to leadership roles.

Watch this edition of our online TV show, the Inventive Links Report, for more reasons why speaking up will get you places.



“Wise men speak when they have something to say; fools when they have to say something.” – Plato via @inventivelinks Click To Tweet!

3 Ways That Speaking Up Can Help You

1. It clarifies your thoughts

When you speak up, it helps you to think out loud.  You and those around you can hear the words that have been swimming about in your head, and the more you utter those words, the closer you get to what you’re truly thinking and feeling.

Clear thoughts = clearer words = compelling communication as a leader.

2. Others understand and empathize with you more

Many people who suffer from chronic depression tend to shut down, say as little as possible and let their emotions swallow them up.  When they don’t voice their thoughts, they miss the chance for others to hear, validate or comfort them.  The very act of being heard can help anyone (whether they’re depressed or not) feel better and more ‘normal’.  And as a leader, speaking up in meetings or with a trusted adviser (like a coach or consultant) can get you out of your own head and gain the additional perspective you need to do your job.

3. You start living your truth

When you speak your mind (within reason, and with respect for the culture you’re in), you start to come into your own as a leader and human being.  Many business leaders feel hemmed in when they’re unable to speak up about something they care deeply for and, if they don’t see a way to change the situation, they’d rather leave than stay and be untrue to themselves.  These transitions or departures can be painful, and we often avoid them and stay where we are for financial security or other ‘comfort zone’ perks.  But the leaders we continue to admire through the ages (e.g. Winston Churchill, Gandhi, Lincoln etc) are the ones who lived their truth loudly and openly.

The best leaders aren’t afraid to speak up when it counts.  And if they are afraid, they still speak up anyway, for the values and causes they believe in.  Will you speak up too?

Enjoyed this article?  What makes you afraid to speak up, or was there a moment in time when you were proud of yourself for speaking up?  I’d love to read your stories and comments – do share them below!

image from martinlieberman.com

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About the author: Maya loves life in the innovation lane. An avid student of life, learning & leadership, she has worked and lived on 3 continents, bringing her globally-minded flair to her clients and personal passions.

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