How to be the leadership voice for those who do not have one

While traveling with my son in Germany, we happened upon the Berlin wall for which numerous artists articulated messages such as the one I am sharing now. When I look at this artwork, I see so many voices trying to be heard and those fading off in the distance who no longer have a voice. As I ponder the meaning for me, I am grateful for my ancestors who came to the US from Austria, Czechoslovakia and Russia seeking opportunity for which I realize a better life.

I often wonder if my fierce independence is the culmination of all the DNA from those who took a risk and were driven for success. I also think of those who don’t have the confidence or opportunity to be heard. That is why much of my passion is to help elevate those who have lost their voice.  It’s in my DNA and why I share these thoughts with you. 

Insight: Be the leadership voice for those who do not have one.

Context: Whether you are already a people leader or simply an individual contributor, do you truly see those around you whose voice is not heard? Are there people that are scribbling notes in a meeting, looking down as you pass them or rush off after a meeting hoping no one will ask them a question. Think about those people and ask yourself if they need someone; possibly you to be there to listen to and potentially be their voice to elevate them? 

Impact: By simply being in tune with the people in your environment, you may see someone that because you asked them what they were thinking, you may awake them to use their voice. You can also hear their stories and elevate their thoughts if you have the access and communication skills to advocate. By being in service to just one person, their unheard or faded voice can be front and center; forever changing the trajectory of that person’s life. 

In real life: Reverting back to my son who is serving in the military, I asked him over dinner if he enjoyed his work and why. He responded that he loves his work because 1) he loves his country, 2) he dislikes bullies and 3) he wants to protect those who cannot protect themselves. As a mother, my heart is filled with joy seeing him mature, values driven and living a purposeful life. As he seeks to help those who cannot help themselves, could you do the same for others? 

Potential Actions:

  • Have coffee with a peer who is silent in your meetings and ask them how they felt and if given the opportunity, what is their opinion or how would they approach the situation. Ask permission if you could call on them at the next meeting and ask them to share their idea. Sometimes they like being called on vs. raising their voice for risk of not being heard and respected.
  • If you are quite and need to be heard, could you float your idea with a colleague? Then when you present your idea, your colleague jumps in and supports you. It’s a great way to build confidence in your own voice
  • Leaders need to set a precedence that they expect to hear everyone’s voice. Even if a person does not have a unique view, they can agree or disagree and present their reasons. You may need to set the expectation that every voice is important and to facilitate that expectation. In the process you build confidence because everyone is expected to contribute to the conversation. 

Challenge: Look back at the image and reflect on what you see and how you feel. I felt inspiration to share how leaders need to be the voice to elevate others. Through your experiences, you may feel a different message coming through to you from the artist. How does it make you feel? I’d love to know! I love the intellectual stimulation due to the interpretive nature and the ability to create new pathways in our brain. (yes, I’m a bit of a geek!) 

Need more help?

  • Send me a note with your situation and let’s talk through how to evolve your approach.
  • Want to connect as part of a collective, consider The Drop In Collective offered on October 24 & October 25th where a team can help you navigate your unique situations with confidence. See below for more details.

 and here are some more resources for you: 

Powerful words for influence is a popular webinar that I’ve given many times. I’m sharing access with you to pick up some additional tips to elevate your influence! 

The Drop In CEO podcastmy blog and my book, The CEO’s Compass can be great resources for you to navigate challenges with confidence

If you just want to connect with me and see how I can support you in a business or personal setback, let’s have a conversation.

Wishing you well and continued success!


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