Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Do you have the guts to go against the crowd?

Many people at work hold themselves back from saying what needs to be said, taking care not to step on others' toes. And many women and men go along with the loudest voices in the room because they assume that everyone knows what they know, that their ideas are not as valuable, that others don't want to hear them. This is not about a lack of confidence, although it may sound that way. You can advise these quiet folks to stand up for what they believe and nothing will change. Usually it is not that they don't have a backbone but that they believe in waiting their turn politely. And their turn rarely seems to come.

In her article for LinkedIn's series, "Best Advice I Ever Got", Sallie Krawcheck, Past President of Merrill Lynch, US Trust, and Smith Barney, writes that her mom's advice to "ignore the chattering crowds" enabled her to "find her voice." Krawcheck made numerous decisions throughout her career that went against the crowd and nearly got her fired, yet each time her actions proved correct. 

Who has advised you to exercise your voice at work? What do you think are the barriers to ensuring all voices are heard?