Too many people offer their opinions with no thought.
Somewhere between those two statements lies “perfection”… but in an imperfect world give me the raw unfiltered opinion rather than have nothing to say.
“Staying silent is like a slow growing cancer to the soul and a trait of a true coward. There is nothing intelligent about not standing up for yourself. You may not win every battle. However, everyone will at least know what you stood for-YOU.” Shannon L. Alder
We, individuals and companies, can only learn and grow if we know what the issues are.
The only way we get to know what the issues are is if someone tells us.
I might not like being told bad news, but it sure as hell beats finding out months later when it is too late!
So, tell your boyfriend that his breath stinks, or you hate the way he throws his dirty socks in the bathroom. He will likely not like it, but his reaction will tell you a lot about your future relationship! Not telling him will just make those issues BIGGER with time, until they become so BIG you either explode or just give up!
Tell that restaurant that their service was lousy or their food was cold or any of the other things that will stop you going there again. That way they have a chance to fix things, or not, but their response will be telling!
When you are struggling in your role because “stupid rules” or “old thinking” is getting in your way, speak up! Try to be constructive in your criticism. Try to think about why things are the way they are, but even if you just think your manager is stupid, let someone know that there might be a better way!
I had an industry colleague thank me for some advice I gave him earlier in his career. He was a little guarded in his comments, suggesting that we don’t always see eye to eye on every subject. That made me think! We have had different opinions over time, but neither of us backed off expressing our opinion and that is how things evolve. My “mistake” was in letting him feel that was a bad thing!
We live in a democratic society with political parties disagreeing on almost everything. It is by no means perfect but the alternatives are not even worth considering!
“You have enemies? Good! That means you stood up for something in your life!” Winston Churchill.
I would say there are two lessons here:
- ALWAYS voice your opinions, hopefully with some thought, but at least get them on the table.
- ALWAYS listen to the opinions of others, and try to learn from them.
I can choose to discount opinions that I perceive as “no value”.
I can choose to learn from others opinions.
I can live in a fantasy world of perceived perfection, if I get no feedback… but THAT is where the real danger lies.
“Give me the sting of an opinion that I disagree with over valueless silence any day.”
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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