By Griselda Togobo
Occasionally I read something that strikes a deep profound cord in me. I unconsciously keep repeating it in my mind and it rings true on some many levels.
All my failures can be traced to my silence has been one of those. It reminds me of all the times I knew I should have spoken, acted, taken a decision but didn’t because I was afraid and thought my silence will keep the peace. The challenges will disappear if I kept my silence.
The challenges didn’t disappear, they just resulted in bigger problems.
I kept my mouth shut because, I didn‘t want to offend, to be bossy, arrogant, difficult, aggressive, negative and the list goes on.
This silence has been not a natural behaviour but a learned one.
It's one of the things that got drilled into me whilst growing up. I was taught to be respectful, helpful and nice which I’m most grateful for and I believe has served me well. I was also taught to be amiable, be seen and not heard. So speaking up especially in an era where more and more of us are required to do so to challenge views that can potentially be harmful to others requires a determined effort to overcome years and years of mental conditioning.
As leaders, male or female, we cannot be silent in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world (VUCA).
It might be tough to speak up but we must.
We need to be a voice of reason and calm.
We need to call out behaviours and views for what they are.
We need to give recognition when due and to call out bad behaviour with integrity and respect.
Everybody is a leader in one way or the other, whether you recognise it or actively seek to lead.
Leaders that keep silent and try to appease do not create problems for themselves but for their teams, communities and the tribes they lead. Every leader should make themselves a custodian of culture, a culture that enables people to speak up.
Speaking up isn’t the easiest thing to do but it does get easier with time and practice.
Let's have the courage to speak up.
You have a voice, use it.
As we approach International Women's day, we’ll be celebrating on the 3rd of March 2017 in Leeds, the 7th and 8th of March in London, by asking you to #BeBoldForChange. We want to encourage you to use your voice to help forge a better working world - a more inclusive, gender equal world where both men and women can thrive. Join us on the 3rd of March in Leeds to hear three game changers share their achievements, challenges and give you an insight into how they are working to make a change.
Join us on the 3rd of March in Leeds to hear three game changers share their achievements, challenges and give you an insight into how they are working to make a change. Find full list of events here.