I had a conversation with a leader recently that made me think about a common leadership mistake, silence.

Why is it we think it would be better to speak with someone away from the table vs. bringing out our ideas at the table?  I have fallen into this trap many times.  I walk away from a meeting that I was invited to thinking my idea was better, but the problem is, I didn’t mention it; therefore, the idea that may have been a bit worse than mine made it to the surface and I walk away frustrated that we chose to do something I thought was not the best.  But whose fault was it?  Mine.

I was sitting at an Applebee’s this last spring with a great leader, Mike Rima (lead pastor of Lake City Community Church in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho).  He spoke of how to lead a large church in a collaborative environment.  He pulled out some sugar packets and placed them in the center of the table as he drew up an illustration for us.  He circled them up and said, “when I ask for ideas I put the need on the table and step back to listen how people dialogue through solutions or ideas”.   He continued, “when he would hear an intriguing idea he would scoot back into the conversation and ask for someone to expound on that one, then scoot back away to let the dialogue continue.”  After a bunch more conversation on this he admitted that many times he would come to the table with what he thought was the best idea, but they would find a better one after collaborating.

I so value collaboration, but sometimes it can be frustrating if people around the table don’t speak up.  And it is even worse when they pull you aside later to tell you the idea they didn’t have the courage to come up with in the collaborative environment.  If you have been invited to the table…speak up.  You are there for a reason and have valuable perspectives to invest in vision, ideas and solutions.

Enjoy the teams you serve on and speak up…only through your insight will your organization, church or family land on the correct steps to lead into the future.