One of my corporate stories is a good platform for my thoughts this morning. I had a boss who told me that when he filled out a 360 leadership assessment on someone he would only put extreme emphasis on the areas that he felt a leader needed to change or where the leader truly excelled. His purpose was that if he didn’t these important areas would get washed out in the averages. He wanted the tool to be useful so he accentuated the main points.
It is difficult to discern what is important to people because:
- they are the type that just want harmony so they only express positive encouragement to the point it may not even seem sincere.
- they like to play devil’s advocate so they argue….either side…whichever side the other person doesn’t take.
- they are people pleasers and have conditioned themselves to either not express an opinion, or to quietly state whatever the majority is going with.
Although, there may be a time or place for any of the above positions, it is confusing as the status quo. Do we really know what anyone thinks? Has time and effort been put forth to understand and form an authentic opinion?
I see quotes frequently that express how much more we learn and actually communicate when we are silent. I think silence has it’s place……..but have you ever talked often with someone who never expresses their opinion. It begins to feel like the communication, and possibly relationship, is one-sided.
It is totally aggravating to converse with someone who monopolizes the entire conversation.
Reading this you may say, what is left?
I propose a similar concept that my boss was trying to accomplish in his 360 feedback process.
- Spend time listening, researching, participating, and questioning.
- Be open to others input and to various ideas in the world.
- Form you own true authentic opinion.
- If it is something that is truly meaningful to you and you have something to say….whether you take the encouragement route, the devil’s advocate, or any other position….express it.
All of these stances are appropriate in certain times in our repertoire of thoughts and opinions. But, none in themselves, is the right position for everything.
Your voice counts. Mine counts. Let’s do our part to really make it count.