I remember being pulled aside one time by my boss who let me know that I wasn’t speaking up enough at meetings. What he didn’t understand — and I think I didn’t fully appreciate either at the time — was that I needed time and space to let things process.
I needed time, space and moving on to something else to allow my perspective and new answers to show up. If I didn’t have something important to say, I didn’t say anything.
In my most recent interview, How to Build Cohesive Teams that Have Impact with Rob Allen, I was really struck by all the ways that Rob understands this dynamic. Rob says that not only do his teams let people finish before speaking, but they also “wait to give a quiet, open space before the next person jumps in just to ensure someone with a more restrained voice has space to contribute.”
Then he takes it even further and says that it’s also important to give other opportunities to give feedback. He suggests using tools like Slack, direct message, or even hanging back after a meeting has ended to give people an opportunity to come up and speak.
Writing this post also reminded me of the following story Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir shared in a past interview with us.
When Gandhi was out in the countryside, government officials came to see him because there was trouble going on somewhere. He would just ask them to wait while he was feeding the goat or talking to the kids. He’d then take all the time that he needed to think through the answer to their requests to synchronize his intuition, experience, and knowledge of the situation. Then he’d come back to them with maybe three sentences or something well thought through. So I think it’s giving people the ways and tools in order to find this harmony are very important. We all need time to reflect, let go of control, and allow solutions to come to us.
What about you?
How do to allow your voice and the voice of others to be heard?
To your great work life & success!