What Do You Stand For?

Nov 29, 2010, Written by Sue Miley

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.

  1. Spend time listening, researching, participating, and questioning.
  2. Be open to others input and to various ideas in the world.
  3. Form you own true authentic opinion.
  4. 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.

Reader Interactions


  1. David@RedLetterBelievers says

    I used to be the guy who always took the opposite position, arguing what I didnt really believe so you could hone your own position.

    Although intellectually stimulating, in the end I abandoned the practice becuase it was destructive to realationships

    • S_Miley says

      Occasionally it is important for that purpose and then I will announce in advance that I am playing devil’s advocate. But I have found to it is best to be an exception, not the rule! Thanks for sharing David!

  2. Brad Harmon says

    The art of meaningful conversation seems to be a dying one. One of the draws for me to blogging is that there are people in the blogosphere that want to express themselves in deeper and thoughtful ways, and to engage like-minded people. We have become such an uninformed and timid nation that it’s extremely difficult to find anyone willing to express an opinion on anything other than small talk.

    Don’t get me wrong. There are many out there spouting off their opinions, but rarely are they informed or civil enough to engage in a meaningful conversation with someone who disagrees with them. I share your frustration, and I’m glad you are one of those rare people with whom I can have a deeper conversation.

  3. S_Miley says

    Thanks for the compliment on sharing a deeper conversation. I appreciate you too and with the shallowness in the noise that spans the media I do take it as a compliment. I agree with you about some of the quality blogs out there, many of which your blog has led me to.

    Let’s try to keep the bar high!

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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