Go Quietly

Quiet Please

I had a very interesting and brief email exchange with a friend via LinkedIn.  He had read an article that I posted on LinkedIn and he “Liked” it.  (By the way, that is very gratifying to a writer. . .  just sayin’)  I responded to him briefly and thanked him for taking the time to read the article and then taking that extra few seconds to give it the internet “thumbs up!”

This will be very brief today.  But he said something in his reply to me that struck a chord.  I had asked him why he thinks our comments are relatively low when our readership is at an all-time high.   And his response was that culture and the politically correct climate is causing this.  In other words, culture is squeezing us into a mold of quiet conformity (my words not his.)

Quiet leadership as opposed to screaming and yelling is a virtue to be sure.  In fact, I have written on this topic several times already.  Consider this one on Mahatma Gandhi and this one on the nature of leadership for some of my thoughts on the topic of quiet leadership.  But what are the implications of the quest for silence on other aspects of our lives and behaviors?

I am traveling this week and much of next week and may not have time to delve into this a little deeper until I return.  But, I really think that he is on to something with his response to me.

What are your thoughts?  Do you have any fodder for consideration as I put my thoughts into words?

3 Replies to “Go Quietly”

  1. I dont think leadership can be quiet. I think quiet refers to passive and reserved and maybe even shy. I think a leader should listen more than they talk, but I dont think we can be quiet. I once wrote a piece on Static vs Dynamic Leadership, and I think the best leadership is dynamic. Maybe even Meta-Leadership, you know ever changing. Growing with your team. Does quiet mean scared? I dont think we can afford to be scared.

    1. I wouldn’t say that being quiet is the defining or most important leadership characteric. But I believe it is part of the total package. And I think it bespeaks a confidence that is not necessarily present when yelling at the top of your lungs.

      Having said that I understand that your background may value a higher volume when the circumstances warrant it.

  2. Interesting thoughts. As I ponder this question I find myself thinking about cultural/societal differences as well as the leadership setting. Not advocating any, rather reflecting on diversity, I have come to see that what is acceptable or even expected in one setting, would not be in others. For instance, some cultures would look down on a leader who could not “Forcefully speak their mind.” Others would find such forcefulness unnecessary, and even offensive. I live in a society rich with diversity and I have had to learn how different cultures view such issues, and how my own leadership style and that of my staff, might need to adjust to meet the sensibilities of others.

    Many on my own staff even have different expectations in this regard. Most consider me to be too quiet. (Those who know my heritage may find that difficult to fathom since my father could be one of the loud ones). But quiet doesn’t mean passive. I can be loud if I must, but I find that loud in tone and loud in volume are two different things. I don’t flinch at being “loud” in tone when necessary, but yelling is something I try to avoid. In fact, I think I have failed in leadership when I have succumbed to yelling. I think I command more respect by being consistently firm in expectations, but I strongly believe that this can be “loud” while still being accomplished quietly.

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