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Speak. Don’t skip. Be you!

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“Don’t tow the easy road that tells you that difficult matters require special moments to discuss.”

It’s always somewhat difficult to speak to the things that make or break. In leadership development, learn to say it if it has to be said. Don’t run from shadows. I mean, speak it. Don’t skip it. What must be said can only be said.

The skill to develop in speaking, however, is not only about what should be said. It is also about how it should be said. I often hear that silence is golden. I respect that. But I don’t raise cubs to become ducks. Some leaders are just acquiescent, and in an attempt to look ‘good’ in everyone’s books, they lose their grip.

Leaders go and leaders come. But a leader must lead and speak if it so requires. Don’t skip it. There are genuine reasons why a leader may pause and not speak. It doesn’t mean the leader shouldn’t speak if he should. A leader must speak well. Develop the art of speaking. Hall (2007) advises that there is no need to lose your confidence if you cannot speak well because there are ways to develop speaking coherently, clearly and concisely.

Learning to speak and managing when to speak require certain levels of skill. When issues crop up at the office and within teams, don’t let them grow uncontrollably. Speak. Don’t tow the easy road that tells you that difficult matters require special moments to discuss. That moment may never come.

Good leaders start the process slowly in dealing with sensitive matters if they have to be discussed. Jim Rohn said: “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse’. There are always reasons why some matters are labelled untouchable. Speak! Don’t be loud and don’t be seen arguing. Be straight to the point with no excesses, and be firm. I have handled corporate trainings on monitoring inner dialogues, and I am firmly, deeply rooted in my observation that every leader needs this skill.

Beyond just talking to yourself, it is always crucial to anticipate reactions and refutations when managing team conflicts, for example. Some people may not want to go through self-communication reforms. I learnt that I don’t have to be always right; so, when I speak, I allow for feedback.

If other contributions are better than mine, I learn to connect my submissions to theirs to synergise ideas as well as learn to disconnect my ideas if it would negatively disrupt better contributions. I also learnt to tarry my inputs if I had to. Learning not to skip, but to speak is crucial in conducting meetings and in giving clear direction to teams. Leaders must gather the courage to correct followers if they have to. Speak if you have to.

Manage the emotions around situations and deal with it if it must be dealt with. Speaking and not skipping is about controlling your thoughts and expressing the things that ought to be said in a very polite, succinct and confident manner. Be quick to know what must be said and what should wait. Own your words and keep them close to your chest. Control when to reproduce it if you have to.

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