Remember how you were always pushed to speak up for yourself?  To put forward your ideas and voice your views?  Well, you weren’t the only one.  Many of us grew up being taught it’s essential to speak up for ourselves.  Yet when it comes to business, many of us struggle to do it.

Have you ever wondered why we are so reluctant to voice our ideas or speak up?  In my experience it’s typically due to one of two things:

  • We fear the consequences of speaking up
  • We get a boost to our own self of sense of self-worth and security when we comply with the expectations of others vs. acting as our true self

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some really good benefits to not voicing your ideas or speaking up; namely it reduces the likelihood of conflict, makes you appear like a strong team player and enables you stay in the good graces of others and be liked.

However, I doubt operating this way is really serving you or your organization.

Being able to share your ideas and engage in healthy conflict are essential leadership qualities we all need to develop.  Whether you have a unique idea to share or you’re in a situation where you think things aren’t going in the right direction, speaking up (in the right way) can be the thing that makes or breaks your success.

Consider the following situation…

Sean, a product manager for a $1B company, was in a meeting with his co-workers to discuss ideas for how to turn around the soft sales performance for a new product launch.  One of his peers, Parker, put forth an interesting idea that Sean thought was innovation but also brought with it a few issues and risks.

Now in a perfect world, Sean would have shared his concerns about the issues and risks he saw and further discussed them with the group; however, that is not what Sean did.  Instead, he agreed with Parker’s idea and provided additional support and resources to it.

Now in this situation, Sean was seen as an exceptional team player and cooperative member of the group and felt like he was being supportive of his peer, Parker.  However, none of this diluted the risk or issues associated with Parker’s idea; which by the way did come to fruition and ended up causing even greater sales decline and Sean’s boss questioning him about why he didn’t see it coming.

The point being, staying quiet or doing something to please someone might bring on temporary benefits but won’t really help you or the organization in the long run! These sentiments are short-lived and won’t help you build stable ground for your career.

I totally understand that many times it’s easier to not speak up or to adopt a passive attitude; but trust me this will only grow and fester and become a toxic trait that eventually comes to bite you in the a**.  And after a while, it will start to limit your creativity and without creativity it’s going to be difficult to advance your career.

So, the next time you see an opportunity to speak up, grab it!  And remember, you do not need anyone’s approval to share your ideas or engage in healthy conflict – that’s part of your job!

And if speaking up or conforming to other people’s strategies and ideas continues to be a challenge for you – reach out – let’s talk – I’m here to help.  Email me at: