Wish you could be bold and take a stand at work? There is much focus on being a team player that few dare to speak up or speak out, even when they feel strongly about something. Most rather play it safe than ruffle any feathers.
By keeping your head down and going with the flow, you could be missing out on opportunities to advance your career. There are times when having the courage to take a stand will benefit you. Here are six opportunities to take a stand and be a leader.
1. The team lacks direction.
There are times when you probably want to bang your head against the wall because your team does not know what to do. Your teammates are spinning their wheels, wasting time at meetings or going back and forth on emails thinking through various options. This is your opportunity to step up and stop the nonsense. This is your opportunity to stop wasting time, money and energy.
You could say, “Based on what we know, this is what we need to do next” or “This is our best option, I suggest we implement it.” Provide guidance to your team. Your colleagues will thank you. They want someone to step up and lead. Be that person.
2. There is an elephant in the room.
Sometimes there is a decision that everyone knows must be made but no one wants to pull the trigger. If everyone knows what needs to be done, be the one to say it. Leaders have the courage to say what needs to be said.
3. A bigger picture exists.
There may be instances when you realize that people are making decisions without perspective. For example, your team is being transactional towards the client on a project and not thinking about taking the time to develop and nurture the client relationship to secure a longstanding future. Or your colleagues are perfecting your company’s website when you have agreed that what is most critical is getting something out on the web first and then making adjustments where necessary.
Say something if you see people being "penny wise and pound foolish." Leaders provide perspective and redirect people from the unimportant to the important.
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4. There is something to be passionate about.
If you feel strongly about an idea, say something. Don’t hold back. Have the courage to say what you feel strongly about. Passion is what drives leaders, and it is inspiring.
5. The numbers tell you what to do.
On the other hand, if you know the numbers that will allow your colleagues to make informed decisions, say something. Let your colleagues know that while one way may feel like the right way, the numbers tell a different story. Speak up and add value. Data-driven decisions are critical to successfully doing business.
6. Being respected is more important than being liked.
Stop focusing on whether people like you or not. Successful leaders do not make decisions to gain attention or popularity. Alibaba founder and businessman Jack Ma said, “I don’t want to be liked. I want to be respected.” Leaders take a stand because they know what is right. They take a stand to do right. Focus on what must be done for the good of the organization and to achieve a goal greater than the preferences of any one person.
People notice when you take a stand. It shows courage. It shows leadership. Don’t risk losing out on opportunities to speak up and hold your ground.