A friend of mine was telling me the other day about an important lesson he recently learned. He was walking beside an old school that is now used to house low-risk inmates near his home. He heard the guys inside the wooden fence shouting in unison, “13…13…13…13…” Well, knowing that Alan is a curious sort, he found a slot in the fence to look through to see what was going on when one of the residents poked him in the eye with a stick. Immediately, the guys started shouting, “14…14…14…14…” You can determine the moral of this story for yourself.
There is always that question of when to get involved and when to stay quiet. I would like to simply outline a few of each just for your consideration:
Speak up and get involved when:
- There is the potential for danger, injury, non-compliance, or risk to the company
- Someone is being hurt
- Someone needs a friend or a good listener
- You see a better way
- You have an opinion that needs to be shared to make a positive difference
Consider remaining quiet when:
- You have been asked to stay out of it (except for 1 and 2 above)
- Someone else already has it under control
- All you hope to do is elevate yourself, demotivate another, or throw someone under the bus
- Your “better way” has already been considered by the team
- Your opinion will or could make a negative difference
There are many others that could be added to each list, but consider today whether you have remained quiet when you should be speaking up or vice versa. We need to build up, not tear down, others.
Have a “top ten” day! Thanks to all of you that make a positive difference in my life!