Leadership is Calling Episode #55
Barbara Schindler & Heather McGonigal

“Should I Speak Up?” The Leadership Choice You ALWAYS Face

Do you ever feel hesitant to speak up or take action in a leadership role?

Leaders often face challenging situations where taking risks and making tough decisions are crucial. This episode highlights the significance of self-awareness in navigating these complexities. Leaders who understand their strengths and weaknesses can enter a “joy spot” of leadership, where they contribute effectively and inspire others.

The concept of discernment is emphasized, urging leaders to carefully consider the impact of their actions before acting. By prioritizing their desired leadership reputation and fostering open communication within the team, leaders can navigate challenges effectively and create a positive work environment.

Discover  practical strategies for self-awareness, discernment, and cultivating the leadership reputation you truly desire. Explore ways to foster self-expression, contribute your thinking, and experience the best of yourself while leading a cohesive, high-performing team. Gain valuable insights into team dynamics, psychological safety, and how to positively influence others, ultimately creating a more enjoyable and fulfilling work experience for all.

Key Points
  • Effective leaders leverage self-awareness to understand their strengths and areas for development.
  • The “joy spot” of leadership refers to the state of flow and self-expression experienced by leaders contributing positively.
  • Discernment involves thoughtful reflection and choosing actions aligned with desired leadership qualities.
  • A strong leadership reputation is built on consistent positive interactions and impactful contributions.
  • Leaders can cultivate a thriving team environment by prioritizing open communication and considering the team’s well-being.
Related Resources

Leadership Skills: Compassionate Leadership
Leadership Development Articles: COMPASSION—Essential Key for Today’s Entrepreneurial Leaders  |  Supportive Listening: A Key Leadership Skill to Uplevel Your Business Today
Downloadable Leadership Tool:  The 5-Day Appreciation Journal: A Culture of Caring

Most people do not listen to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. -Steven R, Covey | Lead by listening -- to be a good leader, you have to be a great listener. -Richard Branson

Auto-Generated Transcript – unedited version

“Should I Speak Up?” The Leadership Choice You ALWAYS Face


What I tell people and why I love what I do is because in all of our programs, we give people a toolbox that really helps them every day in their roles. But when they’re really implementing it and they’re in self-leadership and they’re having the impact they want to have from their role, they’re sharing their experience.

It’s just a much more enjoyable way to be at work. And we all spend a lot of our life at work, you know? And so when I think of people being able to be in their roles and actually feel empowered to fully contribute creatively, contribute their thinking, to have an experience that I love and I want others to love, of being on a team with others, the benefit is having this great team and getting results together. I want everyone to have that experience so that a job can, you know, feel like a way – one of the ways in which we express ourselves in the world.

Yeah, and I’m maybe that sounds loftier or what have you, but since we spend so much time at work, I want everyone to have a better experience and really experience the best of themselves. Yeah, and for the best of themselves, you know, we work in an environment in business and in teams that, you know, for different levels of psychological safety, different levels of complexity, things moving fast or maybe sometimes things are moving too slow. Right.

And when you find yourself in that desire to get that, I’ll call that the “joy spot” of leadership, right? Where you’re in that flow of self-expression and you find yourself holding back or hesitating, like what happens there? What can we do in that moment with more self-awareness, more of, you know, a pause and take a breath? Like, what would you recommend in that moment to be like, “Should I say it? Should I?” Because there’s risk, there’s vulnerability in leadership all the time. Sometimes I’m like, “I take risks all day long.” Some days I do. And sometimes people don’t want to take any more risks, then that’s okay too. You have to.

But I think it’s an internal check-in, sort of like, “What impact or influence” – I think are the words that we use – “But like, what impact or influence do you want to be? How could you be a positive influence right now?” And the other one that we always go back to with all of our clients, which I just – it just works and really helps people, which is like, “What is the leadership reputation you’re going for?”

And if you have that as your anchor point and you’re mindful to make that be at the top of your awareness before you do any team interaction, that really can shift your choices. How you choose to show up, the questions you ask teammates, the just the way you do everything can be informed from this positive reframe of, “What is the leadership reputation you ultimately really want?” and “How in this moment is this going to contribute to this or not?” It’s – sorry, I just thought of this quote that we always use where it’s like, “It’s not fair, but people don’t remember what it’s like to be with you on your best day. They remember what it’s like to be with you on your worst day.” They remember, “Man, that was a really hard time with that project and that deadline. But thank goodness I was on the team. And, you know, even though it went all of these different wonky directions we somehow came out the other end with something even better. And I loved being on their team in their company” – like that’s the experience I think we all want to have. And it is possible. So that’s why I do what I do, because I want everybody to be able to have that.

I love that answer. And I want to circle back real quickly to one thing you said about that check-in. Yeah, it’s not – a great, challenging week last week, so you. And things weren’t fully complete yet. So the intention of today was to have another difficult conversation. Right? That is in this continuum. And it’s like, okay, so we’re going to circle back and do this. And then instead there were crickets. She didn’t reach out. She didn’t schedule that. And when she surfaced and shared about it, like, you know, there was a check-in, but it was like she said, “You know, I needed to work in a steady state for a while today. I just needed to be in and get some things done. And I was trusting that when it was surfacing, I would be in a better place to reach out, to schedule that next conversation.” And, you know, so if she was thinking, “My reputation is I have to do this, as I said,” versus “I want to be the best leader and discern my best actions.”

Right? So that’s what she did. And she paused. And when she came, you know, later to it, she was just like, “I was like, wow, that was so wise. Wow, That’s so brilliant.” Right?

And so that really is like, you know, to really think about that is I love that, you know, check-in with yourself as you continue to grow. We need to trust that inner compass a little bit, too, that measures that real, “You know, what’s the reputation that I want to go for?” and I love that word too.

Barbara, I want to leave everybody with that word, “discernment.” Discernment. That’s really what you have to have – time and space and self-reflection to discern. But when you do discern, then you’re in a different mode that’s going to get better results. So I love that word, “discernment.” That might be my word for 2024. I don’t know. I have to think about it, but it’s one toolbox.



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