The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

July 5, 2013

Career Coach: Leaders can't be afraid to stand up

(Continued)

For example, suppose you really don't believe in discrimination and yet your most vocal employees express their views that "it's not a big deal," while those being treated poorly do not speak up as forcefully. Who are you more inclined to listen to? Some leaders are afraid to go up against those who are vocal, especially if there is a group of them. A confident and strong leader will, however, stand up for his or her beliefs and what is right, and not be easily swayed by the squeaky wheels or the vocal group. They will reveal clearly what they will or will not do.

It's not easy to take a stand and go up against vocal opponents. It takes courage. As author Marcus Buckingham says, "Excellent leaders don't just buy into what everybody else is saying, and they don't follow the beaten path. They are constantly blazing new trails."

It helps to have a support group or some advisers who can be encouraging or provide mentoring. If a leader is able to confidently take a stand in these cases, and is consistent in his or her behaviors, at some point, people see this and have a tendency to respect it. They may still fight against it, and they may still be vocal. But, hopefully, the quieter members will also finally speak up in support of the leader's stand.

It is true that taking a stand can end up with negative results. Your views could be seen by some as unpopular. There are risks to giving an opinion. Yet, there are also risks if you don't take a stand for what's right and important — the loss of talented employees, the respect of those you admire, your own loss of identity and what you value. And it seems that these risks may be greater over the long term.

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