What’s worse? Not speaking up when you know you should, or speaking up and creating chaos. Neither sound great to me. This is a very common dilemma in our culture, and I am sure many of you, like me, have wrestled over the question, “should I say something or not”?
There are some people that seem to always have something to say, often without thinking about the consequences or content of what they are saying. Then there are others who seem to withdraw, and remain silent, therefore allowing certain behaviours to go unchallenged. Both of these are somewhat unhealthy, and if I could re-frame these responses in a single phrase it would be this: speak truth with understanding.
I just finished reading a great book called “crucial accountability” (by Patterson, Grenny, Switzerl, Maxfield and McNillian) and it’s a great read. Here are my personal learnings from the book that I believe will be helpful to you in the journey of speaking up.
1/ define the what: often we speak up without really identifying what the real issue is. This is a critical first step to any hard, conflicting or challenging conversation. Ask yourself what is it about this behaviour that concerns, hurts or puzzles you. Be clear in your own mind, what it is that is impacting you.
2/ know the story: we often write stories about situations without knowing all the facts and details about the story. This is why speaking truth is important and not just what we are imagining the story to be. Ask questions to clarify what is or has actually happened, before making assumptions.
3/ clarify the why: the why is as critical as the what in dealing with these often awkward situations. Why is it important to you? Why do you feel it is something that needs addressed. Are your desired outcomes and results empowering to all involved? Is it just about you, or do you have a why that includes everyone involved? These are important questions in journey of speaking up. Then you can go into the conversation being able to communicate both the what and the why.
4/ understand the if: lastly it is good to have some kind of understanding around the if or the consequences and outcomes of speaking up, or not speaking up. What if I do speak up, with love, what are the likely consequences and outcomes? What if I remain silent, what are the likely consequences and outcomes here?
I have only given you a brief little snapshot of some keys to help and empower you in speaking up. These have been great learnings for me, and I trust are also for you too. Have a brilliant day. Brett