It happens often: you’re in a meeting and someone’s proposing a plan for a new project you’re working on. You know you have a better alternative, but you’re afraid of speaking up because the person proposing the plan has more experience than you.
Rather than present your opinion, you sit back and let the plan unfold as proposed.
Most of us can recall at least one time in the workplace we’ve been afraid to speak up and offer our opinion. That’s okay—but often, speaking up is a much better option, even if it seems more difficult at the time.
Honesty is a huge part of what makes teams successful. Brutal honesty hurts—but being open about suggestions and giving honest feedback (and at the same time being receptive to constructive criticism) makes everyone better.
Why is it so important to be up-front and honest on the job, and how can you grow better at speaking up? Take a look below:
Honesty breeds efficiency.
The only thing worse than committing to a project, devoting effort to it, and having it fail is doing so when you already know of a better alternative. Don’t be afraid to tell your boss or coworkers that you might have a better idea simply because you are afraid no one will listen.
This is a waste of your time and a waste of everyone else’s. If down the road, they realize you had a better idea all along but were too afraid to speak up, you may end up looking worse than if you’d spoken up and had your idea rejected. Time is money in the workplace, and if being more honest at the beginning of the project helps everyone become more efficient, all the better.
Conversation fosters creativity and progress.
Along with making work more efficient, being open and honest about your ideas and others fosters creativity.
When you speak up, you are including yourself in the pool of creativity. Opening ideas up to a group brings in new perspectives that can strengthen your ideas and drive forward progress through the group.
How do you go about speaking your mind? Take a look below:
Don’t doubt yourself. Confidence is a huge part of speaking up. Just because you aren’t the seasoned veteran on your team doesn’t mean your opinions are worthless. It’s okay to be a little unsure about your opinions, but don’t just readily dismiss them. In the end, being confident will help persuade others to see the worth of your opinions, and that is half the battle.
Don’t be discouraged by mistakes. So: you finally convinced everyone to go along with your idea, and it ended up not being as successful as you hoped for. The truth is, everyone makes mistakes. Don’t take it too much to heart.
There are plenty of variables that go into why an idea doesn’t work out. By accepting that you’re bound to make mistakes every once in a while, you end up learning from them and realizing what you can do better the next time around.
Find a balance. Last but not least, find a balance when arguing your opinions. Telling Sally that her opinion is dumb isn’t going to make for a very convincing argument that yours isn’t.
Always approach the situation with tact. Confidence is always key, but you always need to act with a grace when you are presenting your idea. Being sensitive to the opinions and perspectives of others gives your idea a better chance of succeeding and helps to avoid creating unwanted tension.