Making yourself heard

High-performing teams, just like well-functioning societies, are successful because all members actively share their thoughts, opinions and talent. There’s a lot written about teams and organizations that structure themselves to get the diversity of voices/opinions into the conversation to drive innovation and growth. But there’s not much that points the responsibility towards the individuals themselves to make sure their opinion is heard.

People express their opinions and thoughts in different manners. Some do this very openly and feel very comfortable to express their thoughts in front of a large group of people. Others approach things from the background engaging the people they need to in dialogue. This is only two examples of the many ways in which individuals can express their thoughts and ideas; the important thing to notice is in both cases the person is making sure they are getting their opinion heard.

I have worked with several people who just keep everything inside themselves. They get frustrated because they never end up expressing how they really feel and they end up blaming the fact that they can’t express themselves on others. What further aggravates me is when others come to the defense of these individuals claiming that they are the protectors of those unable to express themselves. They say things such as, “I am speaking for those who cannot speak”, or “you don’t know this opinion because this person can’t express themselves.”

To me this approach is completely counterproductive to the development of individuals, teams and the community as a whole. People need to take responsibility to make sure they are heard. And you need to find a way of doing it yourself; other people who speak for you are just creating crutches. And furthermore, I think that those people who seem to be helping out don’t really want the other person to develop because it gives them a feeling of power and superiority that they know better than others (and even if having power and feeling superior is not their intention, it definitely comes across that way).

Innovation and human growth are driven by diversity; but we can’t achieve this it if people aren’t contributing. No one is going to do it for you.

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