I am one of those people with what I call an ‘overdeveloped sense of responsibility’. And, I am working on this. What I have learned over the years is when “we” are responsible, rather than “I” am responsible, we all get to a better outcome. As part of my work as a Vistage Chair, I lead peer group meetings. Sometimes these meetings are outstanding and sometimes not. It’s easy as a leader to fall into the trap of telling myself I did a good job when they go well and blaming myself when they don’t.
And, what I have learned is fantastic days are the ones where everyone is engaged in creating a best day. And the ‘not so good days’ are the ones where something is going awry and no one says anything. Perhaps the silence comes from a place of respect for the leader; after all it is “their meeting”, its up to them to “fix it”. And when there is a series of “it’s up to him or her or them to fix it”, we can easily go from a ‘not so good meeting’, to a ‘not so good day’ or week and ultimately a ‘not so good outcome’ for the business.
All of us have the opportunity to be both leaders and followers in our daily lives. And sometimes we need to step up and take a leadership role in the moment, even when we are not the official leader. The next time you are in one of these moments, here are a few questions to consider as you perform a cost/benefit analysis of the situation:
- If something is amiss in a meeting or a moment, and I stay silent, what is the potential cost to me, the group or the company?
- If something is amiss and I speak up, what is the potential cost to me, the group or the company?
- In a fair and bold cost/benefit analysis, what is the best and boldest choice for me to make?