To lead, break these five silences. (Speaking up sometimes takes courage.)

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To lead, break these five silences.

Many technology specialists are tempted to stay silent when speaking up is better for their career and their company.

Here are a few examples to watch for:

➡️ Before an in-person meeting starts. As uncomfortable as many of us are with small talk; it’s the foundation of interpersonal relationships. Even a simple, “How has your day been?” is better than hiding behind your phone or laptop. If you can ask about something specific that matters to the other person, that’s even better.

➡️ “Are there any questions?” If nobody else is asking questions, your curiosity will stand out. Asking what the rest of the audience is thinking but is afraid to ask will build respect with them. Asking for clarity on one of the speaker’s points builds respect with them when they know you were listening.

➡️ When you disagree with a proposal. As long as it’s still a proposal and not an announcement of a decision, you have an obligation to your colleagues and your company to voice your disagreement. Otherwise, you’re cheating them out of the value of having you on the team. Once the proposal has become a decision, then it’s too late.

➡️ When you messed up. Taking responsibility and owning your mistakes is a hallmark of an effective leader. In all but the most toxic organizations, you’ll earn respect and gain trust by being the first to share your own poor results. And when you do, you model an effective, transparent culture for your team members.

➡️ When someone does or is about to do something illegal, unethical, or against the company’s core values. Especially if it’s illegal, if you know and fail to speak up, your silence becomes consent.

And if you, like many technical leaders, struggle to become the kind of person who can speak up boldly in these situations, let’s talk. Visit to schedule a complimentary conversation to help you find your boldness.

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