Companies want people who make things happen. And to make things happen, you have to speak up. No, anticipating the train wreck and commenting after the train goes off the tracks doesn’t count.
What if you said what you thought, in a way other people could hear you, when you had the right to do so? Meaning, you have the relationship with the other person to tell the truth and you’ve asked permission to be candid?
6 Courageous Steps to Advance Your Career:
- Look for opportunities to make things better.
- Ask for permission to take the ball and run with it.
- Build relationships with other people who are making things happen.
- Don’t say yes, when they mean no.
- Find a way to say no, while engaging the other person in a conversation so a new approach is generated.
- Are willing to go out on a limb, work hard, and fail.
Here’s how to speak up for change without being labeled as the problem person who finds flaws in everything:
- Look for and present solutions, not merely problems.
- Offer to do the work to move towards a better way of doing things. Don’t drop problems at your other people’s doors.
- Ask questions versus overtly say why something is wrong. That could sound something like, “I’d love to help. Tell me more about the process. Perhaps we can insert a step to make this better. What do you think of trying…?” No one likes to be told he’s wrong. Asking questions elicits participation more than overtly saying, “This is broken. We need to fix it.”
Many people are afraid to speak up at work and believe that people who speak up get fired. I haven’t found this to be the case. People who work hard and produce results are typically the last people to be let go.
Say what you think in a way that is not critical; offer solutions not just problems; be a force for good and take an active role in making things better, and my hunch is your career will accelerate faster than you ever thought possible.