Your Leadership Wake: As A Leader, How Do You Share Your Opinion?
Leadership Lesson: It’s important for leaders — or any of us, for that matter — to be aware of how we convey our opinions, because the they are shared by a leader can set the stage, for better or worse, for the environment.
This previous post had broken down the power and influence of leadership impact and introduced this series of posts covering where the wake from a leader’s actions can be observed and felt.
It outlined how a leader — or anyone, for that matter — can create and leave behind a positive, exhausting, or neutral experience for those around them, based on how they approach different areas such as collaboration, communication, and expression.
It asked us to consider what a leader leaves in their wake.
This post is one of many in the series which breaks down a few of the areas in which a leader has the ability – and opportunity, depending on how you look at it – to establish their impact and set the resulting ripple effect and tone for each of the areas to be covered.
To assess a targeted area of their leadership impact, each post will outline a consideration the leader should take into account by answering a specific question.
In this post, the question which should be asked by a leader is…
How Do I Share My Opinion?
Everyone has opinions. In most situations, opinions are powerful tools utilized to plant seeds for strategies. And although an opinion can be very influential, it is more the form and tone with which the opinion is shared that predicts the experience.
So how does sharing your opinion shape the leadership impact? What does it look like in the positive, exhausting, or neutral experience?
The Positive Experience
In the positive experience, a leader shares his or her opinions and provides some semblance of a thought process of how they got there. They also welcome any counter points in order to make sure they draw the best information from all those involved.
As a result, the workforce understands where the leader stands without being turned off by the delivery. The message gets through without losing power because of the fashion in which the leader shares their thoughts. The workforce feels open to the opinion and may, in fact, be consulted for its own.
As a result, people become more open to their workplace, and feel more invested in the preparation, the foundation, and the outcome of the work. With greater trust there is greater communication and sharing of ideas. People feel a greater investment in their workplace. Constructive opinion is valued in every direction.
This is the positive experience because of the commitment people feel to their workplace. They are more focused and take more pride in their work. This positivity ripples through the culture, the service or product, and in the customer experience.
The Exhausting Experience
In the exhausting experience, a leader shares his or her opinion with no reasoning whatsoever, making sure to discredit anyone, for any number of reasons, who would dare disagree with them. The opinion also may take an aggressive tone, which adds no credibility to the discussion at hand.
The workforce tries to keep up with the demands and attitude of the leader in question. Unfortunately, it becomes demoralized as sharing insight and opinion back to the leader is neither encouraged nor welcome.
The result is that the workforce withdraws, losing steam and commitment for their workplace. They don’t see any merit in providing their knowledge and expertise. They may become bitter to the point where some situations may escalate to intentional negligence of the work.
This is an exhausting experience due to the workforce’s depletion of energy through both demoralization and trying to keep up with the leader’s attitude. Energy is split, again, between dealing with the leader and trying to get the work done.
The Neutral Experience
In the neutral experience, a leader shares no opinion. For whatever reason, they are not aware that they should outline what they think. They don’t realize that they should help set the stage for discussion and action.
With regard to the workforce, it is waiting and guessing at what a leader’s opinions might be because those opinions help provide some context around what needs to be done.
The result is a workforce that spends its time scrambling and playing catch up. It’s hard to prepare ahead of time because the leader does not feel the need or urgency to keep the workforce apprised of his or her thoughts. The work may get done because someone has the wherewithal to press the leader for their thoughts, then sharing that insight with the rank-and-file.
This is a neutral experience in that the leader is not intentionally keeping the opinion from the workforce, but instead does not recognize the importance of sharing the opinion with others.
With opinions, there’s a proper time, place, tone, and form of expression of which to be cognizant.
Leaders shouldn’t be so naïve to believe that every last word they utter counts, but opinions are important because they begin to set the stage of what could be in the future of the group.
Opinions don’t merely give an outline for what might set the stage later in form of actions and strategies. The minute opinions are uttered, they set the tempo for the work, workplace, and possibilities.
Questions to consider for the leadership wake:
- How Do I Share My Knowledge?
- How Do I Share My Opinion?
- How Do I Acknowledge Others?
- How Do I Speak To Others?
- How Do I Listen To Others?
- How Do I Guide and Support Others?
- What Would Happen If I Were To Leave Tomorrow?
So, What About You?
- What does your opinion-sharing with others look like?
- Looking back, based on different forms and levels of knowledge-sharing, how did they shape working relationships?
- What tweaks can you make in how you share your knowledge with others, to improve interactions?