An EVP wants one of his Quiet Leader directors (Ava) to speak up more in meetings, to show she has good ideas and can hold her own. Ava tends to let others talk, out of respect and an introvert’s preference to listen first, talk second. This is being viewed as weakness in her company culture.
Ava has a decision to make. She can remain in her comfort zone and stunt her growth as a leader, or she can use this feedback as an opportunity to stretch, shift, evolve.
If Ava continues as is, key people won’t know what she knows or thinks. Without that awareness, they will do what’s natural when there is a void — make assumptions, not always positive. To avoid that, Ava could stretch her comfort zone by getting to know her colleagues better, socializing her ideas to gain insight and build alliances.
She was relieved when I told her the best leaders are continuous learners. They stretch their thinking by observing, listening, questioning, reading, discussing, reflecting, and taking risks. She thought she should know all the answers. That inner voice is a crippler.
At another company, Quiet Leader (Ellen) made an intentional decision years ago to strengthen her professional presence. She prepares for meetings by psyching herself up about what she wants to learn, thinks about her talking points, anticipates what others may need. This bolsters her mindset and behaviors. Now Ellen is viewed as a big-picture, collaborative thinker who researches and plans ahead, an asset in meetings. She expands her understanding about topics by emailing or calling people around the company to ask questions about what she wants to know more about. She has built a reputation as an uplifting leader who shines a light on those who contribute to projects and solutions. If she ever needs something, all she has to do is ask and her network steps up to help. She’s thrilled.
Both Ava and Ellen have potential to go as far as they want to go. Their mindset in meetings matters.
This week, focus your mindset on curiosity, connection, collaboration. See where it takes you!
If you want help with your mindset, let me know.