Good Leadership Starts With Knowing When To Hold Your Tongue

Woman covers her mouth with her finger, illustrating that good leadership involves being quiet and knowing when to delegate.

Wielding your words well is a challenge for anyone in a position of leadership that wants to foster a strong team. When a leader speaks, the team (and company) listens. Not to say that everyone in the company walks in lockstep with the leader at his whim, it’s just to say that the leader’s words carry the most weight. Good leadership starts with knowing when to be quiet and delegate.

Know The Weight of Your Words

The world changes quickly, especially in tech. And as a leader, I (and you) need to be making rapid decisions to win in this changing landscape. Most of the time those are hard decisions because those are the ones that bubble up. In the course of making those decisions, I have become aware of the weight that my word carries and when to wield it…

In times where the decision is hard or there is little data, the leader may need to swiftly make a hard decision. That is understood.

The issue comes when the leader lacks the awareness to know when he needs to hold his tongue. This is most difficult when a company is small and growing fast. The leader is used to making decisions. That’s what he has done for so long.

As the saying goes, “what got you here won’t get you there.”

The Damage Caused By Failure to Delegate

Damage is caused when the leader makes a decision that he should have let his team make. He needs to delegate decisions. If he doesn’t, he risks his team not telling him he is encroaching on their abilities and duties.

It may be the wrong decision in the eye of the leader. It may seem like an inconsequential one. However, the fallout from lack of delegation is disengagement from the team.

They will accept that it is the leader that makes the call, large and small. They will refrain from getting involved in the decision-making process. This is dangerous ground for a company.

Their foundation of leadership will stagnate, and their growth will as well.

So as a leader, it begins with self-awareness and then to company awareness. Initially, you look inward to ask if you are being as humble and transparent as the situation requires. Second, look at what the company needs. Does a new leader in the company need to make a few calls, and maybe fail a few times, to find their way? Are you encroaching on their development and setting a bad precedent? Are you stifling ideas or strategies because you are drowning out the voices of your team?

Leadership, after all, is a lifelong pursuit.

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